Kalmadi lauds hockey team’s performance in Azlan Shah

May 19th, 2008 - 10:31 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi Monday lauded the performance of the hockey team which finished runners-up in Azlan Shah, saying it is a sign that the game is getting back on track. The team, comprising mostly juniors, surprised everyone by reaching the final but they lost to Argentina via a golden goal. It was a commendable performance considering that the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was dissolved ahead of the Azlan Shah hockey champuionship.

“It was indeed remarkable for the team to come back after losing the first two games to stage a recovery and reach the final. Our young team defeated Pakistan, Canada and Belgium, which have already qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games 2008,” said Kalmadi, who is the chairman of the newly formed ad-hoc committee after the dissolution of the IHF.

“The junior team has set a benchmark, it is time for everyone connected with the game, more so the seniors, to take bigger strides in the game,” he said.

IOA dissolved IHF following a sting operation that showed its secretary general K. Jyothi Kumaran accepting money for selecting players in the national team. IHF was under the scanner following the prolonged bad performance of the team.

“The progress that the young team members have shown in Ipoh has sent the right vibes, indicating that Indian hockey is right on track and with proper coaching and advice in the coming months, the game can only go places from here,” said Kalmadi.

He also praised tournament top-scorer Sandeep Singh and the team’s support staff, including coach A.K. Bansal, “for turning a bunch of youngsters into a well-knit unit that can beat the best in the business.”

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