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September 28, 2001

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Coach Rajinder promises good showing

Shailesh Soni

Chief coach of the India junior hockey team Rajinder Singh was confident of a good showing at the 7th Junior menís World Cup, which starts in Hobart, Australia, on October 9.

A member of India's last Olympic gold medal-winning team, at Moscow in 1980, Rajinder said his boys are "fit and fine" and determined to come up with a better finish than the second place India achieved in the last edition in 1997 at Milton Keynes.

"We have a good team and will prove it from our game. We will produce good results," he said, on the eve of the team's departure from Hyderabad, where it has been training, on Friday.

The coach expressed satisfaction with the team's preparation, saying it was getting ready for the event since over a year-and-a-half.

"We played junior tournaments at Ipoh, Poland and Malaysia and had good exposure of the other teams that will also be playing in the competition," he said.

India is placed in Pool C with Canada, Spain and Scotland.

Asked who his main opponents will be in the preliminary pool stage, he said: "We will take match by match and will play all the matches as tough matches."

The team will play two practice matches against local club teams in Sydney before moving on to Hobart. They will also play two more practice matches, on October 5 and 6, against Chile, which should give them a good chance to have a look at the playing surface and get acclimatised to the conditions.

Gagan Ajit Singh On the conversion of penalty-corners, he said, "We have different variations and also have Jugraj Singh as our specialist."

He added: "Then we have captain Gagan Ajit Singh, Arjun Halappa and Deepak Thakur to take the penalty-corners."

On who will take the penalty-strokes, he said, "It will depend on which players are on the field at that time."

The former India midfielder said there is allround balance in the team which has a host of players who did duty for the senior side at the World Cup qualifiers in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"We have Bimal Lakra, Viren Rasquinha, Prabodh Trikey, Vikram Pillay, Ignacious Trikey and Bipin Fernandez in the half line and Jugraj Singh, Kanwalpreet Singh and Bikramjit Singh in defence. All are seasoned players."

He, however, refrained from predicting which four teams will make it to the semi-finals. "All the teams playing in the event are of high standard." he said, adding 'but we will play good hockey and produce good results."

Junior Men's World Cup - The Complete coverage


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