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Violence mars Nehru Cup hockey
Harish Kotian | December 30, 2005 21:03 IST
Last Updated: December 31, 2005 09:08 IST
Ace Indian forward Deepak Thakur was injured in violence that marred the Nehru Cup hockey tournament as players of two leading teams got involved in a brawl at the Shivaji Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.
The unsavoury incident, involving players of Namdhari XI and Indian Oil, resulted in Thakur sustaining injuries on his hand which needed treatment in a hospital.
The fight broke out when Namdhari XI players, after losing their semi-final match to Indian Airlines, went into the warm-up area, where Indian Oil players were preparing for their semi-final clash against Punjab and Sind Bank.
According to eye witnesses, 1992 Olympian Deedar Singh, who doubles up as a player and coach for Namdhari, instigated the free-for-all as he repeatedly abused the Indian Oil players. Despite pleas from Indian Oil coach Joaquim Carvalho, he collected a few spectators and started attacking the Indian Oil players.
"Since I knew Deedar Singh well, I went to him and appealed to him, 'don't start anything. If you have anything against the players, you settle it outside the ground,' but he refused and instigated others to rush onto the ground," Carvalho told rediff.com.
The Namdhari coach then hit Thakur with a hockey stick as the striker went to pacify things. Thakur was lucky to escape the shot on his hand, but was hit as Deedar swung the hockey stick wildly at him.
"We were not supposed to play the match, but after seeing the spectators abusing the Namdhari players for their unruly behaviour, we decided to go ahead with it. The team was very shaken at half-time even though we were leading," Carvalho added.
Upset by the incident, the Indian Oil management has asked the team to withdraw from the tournament. They have also written to the Indian Hockey Federation to take action.
If not for the local police, who reached the spot immediately, the situation could have turned worse.
Indian Oil are slated to take on Namdhari XI in the play-off for the third place on Saturday, but the match is likely to be called off.