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Hockey India lifts ban on Sandeep, Sardara

September 21, 2011 18:38 IST

Ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and midfielder Sardara Singh were handed a lifeline on Wednesday after Hockey India lifted the two-year banĀ on them for indiscipline, saying the two players were given "a last chance" to make amends for their mistakes.

Hockey India executive director Anupam Ghulati said the decision to revoke the ban was taken after the two players "expressed unconditional regret" for their acts before the Appeals Committee.

"Sandeep and Sardara appeared before the Appeals Committee today and expressed their unconditional regret. So keeping in view their age, performance and future potential, the committee decided to revoke the ban," Ghulati said.

"But both the players have given in writing that if they are again found guilty of any misconduct, in future the two-year ban can be re-imposed on them," he said.

Both Sandeep and Sardara were banned for two years by Hockey India's disciplinary committee after they quit last month's national camp in Bangalore ahead of the Asian Champions Trophy, citing personal reasons.

The two players, however, appealed against the ban last week after Hockey India gave them 30 days' time to do so.

With the ban revoked, both Sandeep and Sardara have been asked to join the ongoing national camp in Bangalore immediately.

Ghulati, however, made it clear that the duo's selection in the Indian team for the four-nation, nine-a-side Super Series tournament in Perth, Australia in October is subject to their fitness and performance in the selection trials, scheduled to be held in Bangalore on September 26.

Sandeep, on his part, heaved a sigh of relief at Hockey India's decision, saying from now on his focus is only on hockey.

"It was a one of the worst phases of my career, which, thankfully, has passed. Now my only focus will be my game," he said when contacted.

"We [myself and Sardara] will be joining to the national camp tomorrow. I am now determined to do well for India in the upcoming international tournaments," Sandeep added.

Asked whether he and Sardara have given an assurance about maintaining "proper conduct" in writing, Sandeep said, "Yes, we have submitted in writing to the Appeals Committee that they can ban us in future if we repeat such things."

Wednesday's hearing was attended by Sports Authority of India's executive director (Teams) Dr PC Kashyap, two government observers -- Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey, athlete's representative Rajnish Mishra. From Hockey India, M Baladitya, Gurdeep Singh and secretary-general Narinder Batra were present.

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