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September 12, 2000
Penalty-corner specialist gets the boot?
Harpal Singh Bedi
With just three days to go for the start of the Olympic Games dissension has surfaced among officials attached to the Indian hockey team in Sydney.
Ranjit Singh, who was specially flown down from Spain by the Indian Hockey Federation to assist the team in penalty-corner drills in its run up to the Olympics, seems to have been given the boot.
A furious Ranjit lashed out at team manager K Jyothikumaran, who also happens to be the IHF secretary, saying he has not given him proper accreditation.
"I have got a card which enables me to go only to the training area and not in the proper stadium. I am not with the team if it is training inside stadium and I am also not in a Games village, " he said.
He blamed Jyothikumaran for this sordid affair and alleged that the manager is interfering with the training of the team.
"He has no business in denying me the accreditation card or place to stay in the village," he said.
Ranjit, who has been with the team for the past four months, said: "I have come all the way from Spain to train the boys at the specific request of the IHF and look what the secretary has done to me."
Ranjit, who is based in Barcelona was also very bitter about the manner in which he has been sidelined. "Now is the time to concentrate on the training of the team but I am running here and there for accommodation. At present I am staying with my relative but that place is very far away. Given the Sydney traffic it takes me three to four hours only to commute from one side," he said.
Asked why he is blaming Jyothikumaran, he said: "Because he is all-powerful; he is deciding everything, which also includes treatment meted out to me."
He said he is waiting for IHF chief K.P.S Gill to arrive. "It seems whatever Gill is trying to do for the improvement of the game and the team's performance in the Olympics, some officials are hell-bent on undoing," he added.
Mail Sports Editor
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