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I am fit as a fiddle: Pillay

Onkar Singh | June 04, 2004 17:18 IST

Mercurial forward Dhanraj Pillay says he's as fit as any player among India's Olympic hockey probables.

Speaking shortly before the players left for the United States for fitness training at the Athlete's Performance Institute at Tempe, Arizona, the 36-year-old three-time Olympian and former India captain, who was not named among the probables for an earlier camp in Barog, Himachal Pradesh, told rediff.com said he is confident of lasting the full duration of a match.

"I have been doing fitness training with the junior players. I did my running along with them and also did weight training. I can assure the people of India through this media that I am fit as a fiddle and can last for 70 minutes," he said, adding he has recovered fully from the knee injury he sustained during the Azlan Shah tournament in January.

Asked about the chances of India winning a gold medal from hockey at the Athens Games, Pillay replied: When people like Sunil Dutt and the people of India are behind the team the boys will do everything to win the elusive Olympic gold medal which India last won in 1980 in Moscow."

He was all praise for new sports minister Sunil Dutt. "With his blessings the Indian hockey team will do well. Duttsaheb is a legend and we are happy that a man like him has become the sports minister of the country. Soon after taking over as minister he said sportsmen and sportswomen must be respected. No minister before him had said this.

"I have had the honour of sharing a dais with him during the Sahyog Foundation awards ceremony in Mumbai last year. It is a pleasure to know such a great human being."

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