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'Rajinder indulging in a blame game'

April 05, 2006 19:50 IST

Refuting charges levelled by former coach Rajinder Singh Junior against physio Ravi Kanakamedala, Umesh Kumar, the manager of the Indian hockey team at the Commonwealth Games, said they are 'blatant lies'.

Rajinder Singh had alleged on Tuesday that the physio rarely turned up at the ground and he had to attend to physical training sessions and take care of the problems of players.

Kumar, also the president of the Andhra Pradesh Hockey Association, expressed surprise over the remarks and said video footage is available with the IHF.

He said if Rajinder was unhappy with the team selection he could have sorted it out then and there.

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"One cannot accuse the federation for it after being party to the selection and having signed the list of players who were picked," he said.

"As an Indian coach he cannot give a statement which is factually incorrect. All 21 team members were present at the ground," Kumar said, adding that Rajinder is now indulging in a blame game.

Clearance Lobo, assistant coach-cum-video analyst of the team at the Games, concurred with Kumar's remarks, saying Rajinder must have been extremely upset on being replaced.

"Why should he accuse only one support staff. Everyone was present at the ground during the training session and matches. Video tapes are available to examine this," he said.

Lobo pointed out that he himself was not present during one training session and the physio was absent for one or two sessions, mainly because he had to attend to Harpal Singh, who was quarantined since he had chicken pox.

Lobo said every team member was present at all training sessions and matches. The trainer and the physio were available for anyone for 24 hours.

"If the boys had played badly, we should not blame each other. It is a team game. The full support staff is to be blamed and not the physio alone. He is trying to sort out personal animosity in a wrong manner. He could have talked about these in Melbourne itself. Why should he open out like this now," Lobo asked.

Meanwhile, IHF secretary Jothikumaran was unavailable for comments on Rajinder Singh's charges.

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