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Pitch controversy hits hockey
December 06, 2004 17:55 IST
The players have had more than their opponents to fight against in the ongoing Champions Trophy hockey event in Lahore.
The newly-laid turf of the National Stadium has become the talking point after two of the six elite teams participating voiced their concerns about the slippery surface.
The players have had difficulty in coming to terms with the turf which was re-laid only weeks before and the sight of their frequent slipping and falling during play has led to injury scares too.
Some coaches said all the troubles faced by the players could have been avoided had the pitch been laid well in advance.
"It's a brand new pitch and so it's a bit slippery. Though it's not unusual, it's restricting the movement of players as there is always danger getting injured," Germany coach Bernhard Peters said.
"It would have been much better had this pitch been laid well before (the event) which would have decreased the chances of injuries to players," he added.
The Indians too had problems in getting used to the pitch which was evident during the first two matches in the tournament.
During the match against the Netherlands on Sunday several players found it tough doing the balancing act on the slippery turf. Igance Tirkey was lucky to avoid any injury after he came down crashing while taking a turn.
New Zealand coach Kevin Towns said he was surprised why the International hockey federation (FIH) allowed the organisers to lay the brand new surface just weeks before a mega event.
"I don't know why organisers were allowed to lay a new pitch so close to an event of such magnitude," Towns said.