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IHF cool about Doha debacle
December 11, 2006 19:06 IST
The Indian Hockey Federation on Monday put up a brave front in the face of widespread criticism over the team's disastrous show at the Asian Games in Doha, with secretary K Jothikumaran maintaining that it is "not the end of the road" for the sport in the country.
"This is not the end of the road. Like sometimes in football, top teams do not qualify for the World Cup but that doesn't mean it is all over for the team," Jothikumaran said.
India failed to reach the semifinals -- for the first time in the Games' history -- after suffering a 2-3 shock defeat to China and drawing 1-1 with South Korea in a must-win clash on Sunday.
Reaching the final would have given India an automatic berth for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Instead, the team would now have to win one of the three qualifying events to gain entry into the quadrennial event.
The performance drew stringent comments from various quarters, including from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Els van Breda Vriesman who said Indian hockey faces an uncertain future as the Olympics qualifying process is not going to be an easy task.
Blaming the IHF for its unprofessional ways of functioning, Vriesman said FIH had given the Indian unit a detailed blueprint to develop hockey but nothing has come out of it.
"We have mentioned about overall development in administration, umpiring and coaching. But ultimately it is the IHF that has to do the work. We can give them only a plan," Vriesman said.
She said the FIH had held nearly 400 meetings with the officials of the IHF, the IOA and the government, but that too proved to be a futile exercise.
Jothikumaran, however, cautioned against starting the blame game.
"There is no need to start a blame game. We have to assess what has happened and start looking for fresh talent in the Premier Hockey League," he said.
"It [India failing to reach the semis] is the most unexpected result. You will agree with me that barring the first half against China, the team played well for the most part.
"The match against China was an atrocious display. Nobody expected India to play so well against Korea and so badly against China."
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage