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Rajinder's removal an insult, say Olympians

July 20, 2004 20:46 IST

The unceremonious sacking of Rajinder Singh as national coach by the Indian Hockey Federation just three weeks before the Olympics came for heavy criticism from many quarters with most questioning the timing and the reasons behind the decision.

"With the Athens Olympic Games just around the corner, I wonder whether it was an appropriate time to take this drastic action. The Indian Hockey Federation had axed former chief coach Cedric D'Souza in the same style," said Olympian and former national coach M K Kaushik.

"It is an insult of the Olympian as well as the coach," said, Kaushik, who is now the coach of the Indian women's team.

IHF sacked Rajinder as the chief coach on Monday without assigning any reason but stated the dip in performance of the team in the last one year after the Afro-Asian Games was one of the major factor behind the decision.

Olympian Balbir Singh also questioned the rationale behind the preference given to Jagbir Singh, who will assist chief coach Gerhard Rach of Germany, over Rajinder and said it was "baffling and beyond reasoning".

The decisions to appoint Jasbir and sacking of Rajinder at this moment are unprofessional.

"Jagbir has never been coach of a junior school team. How he got into the senior team as coach is baffling and beyond reasoning?"

Jagbir was last month appointed as assistant coach to Rajinder in place of Harendra Singh, after the latter along with goal keeping coach M R Negi were sacked for the teams dismal show in the Rabobank tournament in Holland.

However, Olympian Balwinder Singh had no sympathy for Rajinder.

"Jaisi karni vaisi bharni (one reaps what one sows)," he said while reccting to the sacking.

Balwinder alleged that "Rajinder has been indulging in wrongdoings with the players. His sacking by the IHF is what he deserved. However, the time is absolutely wrong. The IHF should have taken this step long back.

"Jagbir has not even coached a school team. He has been presented an Olympic team on a platter. The reason is best known to the IHF officials only," said Balwinder.

Balwinder, who is also an international hockey umpire, said: "I fail to understand sacking of Kanwalpreet and inclusion of virtually unknown Harpal Singh as full back." He added that Kanwalpreet has been with the team for the last four years.

Former captain of the victorious Junior World Cup and Olympian Baljit Singh Saini said "with only few days left for Olympics, this was not the right time to remove chief coach Rajinder Singh.

Athens 2004: The Complete Coverage

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