Charlesworth appointed hockey junior team coach

March 17th, 2008 - 11:14 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Hockey coach Ric Charlesworth was Monday asked to shoulder the India women’s and junior teams, but the Australian flatly refused to take up the offer, saying he did not come to do that. The decision to entrust the women’s and junior teams to Charlesworth was taken at a marathon meeting between the officials of the Sports Ministry and the Indian Hockey federation (IHF) Monday afternoon.

Interestingly, Charlesworth, who arrived here Monday stayed put up in a hotel, but was not called for the meeting.

When contacted later in the evening, he curtly said: “I have not heard officially about the decision, but I have not come to India to do that (coaching junior teams). Moreover, it doesn’t work that way, people just decide and inform you.” Obviously, the matter was not discussed with the Australian.

The decision itself came as a surprise as the expectation was that Charlesworth would be given the charge of the senior team in the wake of India’s failure to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 80 years.

Apparently, the IHF was reluctant to sack Joaquim Carvalho after the team’s one bad performance in Santiago in view of his good work earlier in the year when the team won the Asia Cup and finished on the podium in a couple of other international tournaments.

Charlesworth was made the coach-cum-adviser of the under-19, under-21 and the women’s team as the Ministry and IHF set out to achieve the Herculean task of getting hockey back on track.

Sports Secretary S K Arora and joint-secretary I. Srinivasan had a long discussion with IHF chief K.P.S. Gill and secretary-general Jothikumaran to set things right after the Santiago debacle.

“Ric will look after the junior teams (U-19, U-21) as well as the women’s team. He will be given a contract of one year and his performance will be monitored,” a ministry source said.

“The women’s team will play the Olympic qualifiers in a few days and Ric will look after their preparation,” the source said.

Charlesworth was roped in by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to revive Indian hockey. IHF, though, had kept him away from the national team and even did not allow him to be with the team during the Olympic qualifiers, citing the contract with him not being finalised.

The ministry had convened the meeting to formalise the contract with Charlesworth.

“This is not the place to address a pres conference and discuss these things,” Gill told the waiting reporters as he left the venue after two and a half hour.

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