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Hockey team may train in Singapore

September 02, 2003 17:53 IST

Keen to make amends for the Champions Trophy debacle, the Indian Hockey Federation may take the team to Singapore for a crash training session under floodlights in the lead-up to the Asia Cup tournament in Kuala Lumpur, where all the matches are night affairs.

The IHF wants to leave no loopholes this time around after drawing flak for choosing Lucknow as the venue for the Champions Trophy preparatory camp.

"We have put in a request to the Sports Ministry for clearance of the training stint in Singapore. We need at least five days for the boys to practice under floodlights as all the matches in Asia Cup will be held at night," IHF secretary K Jothikumaran said.

"Since we do not have floodlit astroturf stadiums in the country, it is imperative for the team to get some kind of exposure to night conditions," the IHF secretary added.

The probables will have a training camp in Bangalore, from September 8, for the September 21-28 tournament.

Jothikumaran put to rest speculation that the IHF may sack chief coach Rajinder Singh in favour of a foreigner in the wake of India's unimpressive show at Champions Trophy.

"There is no question of changing the coach. But we are considering hiring the services of a foreign expert. I think there is no harm in acquiring an expert who can assist our coaches," Jothikumaran said.

The IHF secretary also ruled out any major changes in the composition of the team as of now. "We will not make any drastic changes in the side at least till the Asia Cup. Since the Asia Cup comes at a short interval after the Champions Trophy, we do not want to upset the balance of the team. We will wait and watch till the Asia Cup."

He conceded that the team's performance in the Champions Trophy left much to be desired.

"The team was leading 3-0 (against Holland) and then conceded four goals in the dying minutes... It is a matter for concern. Also, our midfield needs to be strengthened. If we iron out these weaknesses we will be a tough team to beat," he said.

On India pulling out of the Azlan Shah tournament earlier this year in Malaysia, citing harassment of Indian IT professionals, Jothikumaran said it was the decision of the government.

"It was a peculiar situation. This time around we have been given the go-ahead to participate in Malaysia."

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