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I will quit after reviving hockey: Gill
MR Mishra | March 13, 2008 17:38 IST
Last Updated: March 13, 2008 17:47 IST
India's shock failure to qualify for the Olympics [Images] may have raised a hue and cry in the country but a combative IHF chief K P S Gill says the debacle has thrown a "real challenge" at him and he would leave the post only after the team regained lost ground.
Unrattled by persistent demands for his resignation, Gill said he would not run away at this stage and blamed the poor umpiring and the nature of the qualification process for the debacle.
The IHF supremo spoke at length on a variety of topics ranging from his anguish to see India's current hockey plight and his strategy to revive the game during the interview to the Press Trust of India.
On the Olympics qualifiers debacle: It is no doubt a setback. A challenge has been thrown at my face and I accept the challenge. I want to prove to the world that it is not because of the lack of talent or capability. I want to Indian hockey on top again.
The qualification process put immense pressure on the team. It was a matter of how the team played on a particular day. One bad day can afflict any team, that day (final match against Great Britain) we played 10 per cent of our potential.
It is an excellent team, that they lost is a different matter. We cannot put all the blame on the players. I do not foresee any drastic changes in the team.
We will be working on this team for the next couple of years. Of course some players may come and go because of injuries. But that is the case with all the players. They have the capability to prove their worth and mettle. The coaching staff will also show their mettle.
If you notice our performance in long tournaments such as Olympics and World Cup where we are required to play back to back matches, we never play well in the second match. That is because, according to experts, Indians take 36 hours of recovery time unlike European teams who mush less time.
We are taking the help of scientific experts and top class physiotherapists to reduce our recovery time to 18 hours or so. That is why we have done well in shorter duration tournaments where the players get enough rest.
On umpiring in Chile: The umpiring assaults on India played a big part and I will take up the matter with the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
The umpiring blunders have been happening time and again. I had taken it up for the first time in 1997. This kind of discrimination has to go. Such things can break the morale of any player.
On why he was still clinging on to the post after 14 years at the helm: I had made up my mind to go in 2003. We had a number of memorable victories and we had beaten teams like Australia and Holland. But there was a request by a large number of people that I should continue.
The team started going down and we failed to finish in the medal bracket in 2004 Olympics.
The team should have done much better in the last Olympics. I expect this team to pass through the same phase and I am sure it can bounce back again. I give myself two to three years. Once that happens, I will go.
There is a coterie of five or six former Olympians who are just professional mourners. They just know how to do breast beating, howling and crying whenever they get the chance. That is their choice, I cannot do anything.
On formulating a blue print for revival of Indian hockey: The strategy was there even before the qualifiers. How is it that our junior team is at the top for the last few years.
India had finished fourth in the last junior World Cup in Holland. These results would not be possible if there was no planning
I have been having discussions with some former players and administrators in the last couple of days. I will take that into account when we draw up plans.
Lack of astro-trufs in India: 10-12 new astro-turfs would be laid in various cities by this year and many state associations have taken their own initiatives to have such turfs.
By the time 2010 Commonwealth Games take place there will be 10 astro-turfs in and around Delhi. That would be a big boost for hockey.