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'Sandeep's injury a serious issue'
August 22, 2006 13:46 IST
The Indian Hockey Federation on Tuesday expressed concern over the bullet injury to country's key hockey player Sandeep Singh ahead of the World Cup, and said arrangements are being made to name a substitute for the Germany bound team.
"It is a very serious incident. He is a world class player, and we are putting a lot of hope and confidence in him [for India's success in the World Cup]," IHF chief K P S Gill said, reacting to the bullet injury to Sandeep Singh on Tuesday morning.
Gill said he did not know the details of the incident, but said all arrangements had been made for Sandeep's treatment in PGI, Chandigarh.
"I have spoken to Sandeep's brother. A revolver bullet hitting him is a very serious issue. But I have no details, so I can't really say what has happened," he said.
Sandeep received injures in his foot this morning when the pistol of a Railway Protection Force officer went off accidentally inside the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express when the player was on his way to New Delhi to join the team for the World Cup to be held from September 6.
"Its a serious issue as far as the boy's return to the team is concerned. We are taking all steps to see that he does. Experts in PGI will see to it," he said.
The IHF chief said that efforts are on to get a substitute if Sandeep is unavailable for the World Cup.
Gill mentioned the names of Raghunath, now doing duty for the Indian team at the South Asian Games in Colombo, the under-19 team skipper Vikramjeet Singh and Jugraj Singh as possible replacement, but said that national coach V Bhaskaran would take a final decision.
Echoing Gill, IHF secretary K Jothikumaran said: "it was a bad news for Indian hockey. We are taking further steps".
Indian captain Dilip Tirkey said that the country had no other drag flicker of Sandeep's ability.
"It is definitely a bad news for us," he said.
Asked about other drag flickers the Indian team would be looking at as an alternative, he said: "Arjun Halappa and Raghunath were also practising drag flicks".
On when he thought Sandeep could return to top flight hockey, Tirkey said: "I don't know the exact nature of injury. If it is critical, then it will take some time to heal up. And he will also take some time to regain fitness," he said.