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Hockey needs India to thrive: Charlesworth
October 23, 2007 12:12 IST
Australian legend Ric Charlesworth believes "hockey needs India doing well to survive and thrive" and feels privileged to play a part in the renaissance of the eight-time Olympic champions.
The newly-appointed Technical Adviser of Indian hockey said the country is a minefield of talented players, who can be groomed to become world beaters again.
"India has now failed to perform for so long that the game [which I have always loved] is lesser, because we are missing the artistry and aesthetics that stamped the first part of the 20th century.
"Equally, hockey needs India doing well to survive and thrive worldwide. I believe India has the raw materials in skilled, clever and talented people to be outstanding again as a hockey nation. In hockey to play a part in the renaissance is a great challenge and I am privileged to have this opportunity," Charlesworth said.
Charlesworth, who till recently was working with the New Zealand [Images] Cricket as a High Performance manager, said the first challenge after being "on the ground" in December would be to know the functioning of Indian hockey.
"Everyday will bring a new challenge...the immediate one will be to discover how hockey works in India...to watch, learn and listen and to construct with Indians a better way forward," said the former Australia hockey captain.
"I have one or two commitments [for a couple of weeks] that I have already agreed to before this assignment. After that I will be practically full time except for the occasional speaking engagement," he added.
The Aussie great said the deal with India is a result of years of negotiations, which could have been even longer without International Hockey Federation's 'Promoting Indian hockey' programme.
"Over some months and following considerable discussion it has been developed. Such things are seldom quick or easy and without FIH's programme for India it may have taken longer. The first contacts were back in 2002 and then after Athens," he said.
On the Indian men's team Asia Cup winning feat, Charlesworth said though the result could not be undermined, but the side needs more exposure.
"I still haven't seen the final game but the result was encouraging. Of course often in hockey the result can deceive but Korea are a quality team. Overall though we haven't played enough games this year, we need more exposure."
Charlesworth, who coached the Australian women's side to two Olympic gold, hoped that both the men and women's teams of India would qualify for the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images], though it would not be a cakewalk to emerge as champions in the qualifiers.
"I hope so for both the men and the women [but] it will not be easy against similarly ranked teams in a one-off match," he said.