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Innovative training for hockey team

July 10, 2003 21:07 IST

The born-again Indian hockey team will resort to innovative training techniques in their quest to win the prestigious Champions Trophy which has eluded them thus far.

Having raised expectations by consistent performances in the last year or so, the team is determined to keep up the good show and break the jinx this time around.

As a first step towards that goal, the preparatory camp for the event is being carefully planned, coach Rajinder Singh informed in Delhi on Thursday.

The camp will be divided into phases with emphasis on different aspects.

"In the first phase, the team will spend around six days in Solan, where the focus will be on relaxation and fitness of players," Rajinder Singh said.

"We have also planned to study the rival teams' weakness and strengths through video reviews."

Since the temperatures in Amstelveen, the venue for the Champions Trophy, go down considerably after the rains, the team will benefit from the training at the hill station, Rajinder Singh said.

"The aim is to unwind and train at the same time and it should bear fruit," he said.

The team is positive following back-to-back wins in Sydney and Hamburg, and sponsorship support from Sahara India and the coach feels the two things combined may have made India's case strong for going into the Champions Trophy as one of the favourites.

"We are not quite favourites but yes the confidence of the team is high. We are certainly hoping for a good performance from the boys," the chief coach said.

Rajinder Singh also sought to clarify the omission of veteran forward Mukesh Kumar from the squad saying, "We cannot allow players to pick and choose tournaments."

Mukesh Kumar had accused the team management of not giving him enough chances in the double-leg Australian event and had subsequently pulled out of the Germany tour citing personal problems.  He had, however, said he would be available for the Champions Trophy.

The coach said the team is "grateful" to Sahara for having come forward in support of Indian hockey.

"It is a big step forward for Indian hockey. It will certainly change the way hockey players are looked upon and it is going to reflect in their performances.

"It is for the first time that a company has pledged support for a span of eight years and we are sure we will be able to organise tours with their support which will help the team a lot in their endeavour to once again reclaim its glorious past."

Also read: Not champions stuff yet


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