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Home > Sports > Hockey > Reuters > Report

Revamp IHF say former hockey greats

December 21, 2006 17:18 IST

Former Indian hockey greats demanded the removal of top federation officials after presenting a stinging protest letter to the sports minister following the team's Asian Games debacle.

The eight-times Olympic champions continued their slide in Doha, finishing fifth after failing to reach the semi-finals for the first time since hockey made its Games debut in 1958.

The twice former Games champions came 11th out of 12 teams in the September World Cup. They also failed to reach the last four at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in February, having finished last in the elite Champions Trophy at home last year.

"The situation is pathetic because of the federation's policies," former skipper Pargat Singh said. "This protest should put pressure on the Indian Hockey Federation."

Grahanandan "Nandy" Singh, a member of the victorious 1948 and 1952 Olympic teams, said the Indian Olympic Association should step in to change the administration led by K.P.S. Gill, a famous former police official, since 1994.

"The solution is not something you can put in a few words," he told Reuters. "The government can't interfere in the working of a sports organisation, but the IOA can.

"The buck has to stop somewhere."

A signed memorandum to the Union sports minister said hockey officials had destroyed the system in place to pick and prepare teams.

"...Also (due to the) undesirable dictatorial attitude of the present IHF set-up, our team became a laughing stock at international meets," it said.

Former players were concerned the pool of talent was drying up while competition was getting stronger even in Asia where silver medallists China emerged as a new force behind winners South Korea with traditional power Pakistan settling for bronze.

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