Far from din,hockey team for Games trains in Balewadi

The controversies surrounding Indian hockey and the Commonwealth Games along with the delay in preparation of the accommodation facility in Delhi has forced the Commonwealth Games hockey camp to shift to Pune for its final preparation.

Written by Kabir Mandrekar | Pune | Published:August 20, 2010 4:41 am

The controversies surrounding Indian hockey and the Commonwealth Games along with the delay in preparation of the accommodation facility in Delhi has forced the Commonwealth Games hockey camp to shift to Pune for its final preparation.

The players,however,are quite unperturbed. “It is great to be away from the controversies and in a place where all the facilities are available under one roof”,skipper Rajpal Singh told The Indian Express on Thursday.

Since its inception,the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City has come in for criticism owing to its sub-standard facilities – be it the poor quality poly grass ground,the unkempt ground in the athletics stadium,the shoddy condition of the warm-up pool or the poor facilities at the gymnastics hall. However,the one reason why Team India hockey camp keeps coming back to Pune to conduct its practice is the fact that all the facilities are in close proximity to each other. “The gym,hostel,the ground and the pool are all at a walking distance in Balewadi whereas in Delhi,there is too much travel involved”,said V Raghunath,one of the probables for the games.

According to skipper,Rajpal Singh,the players focus needs to be solely on the game,and the shift to Pune was crucial for that to happen. “The players should concentrate only on their practice for the tournament and not on the controversies surrounding the game. This will be important for a successful performance at the Games”,he said.

While the team will miss out on getting some good practice on the pitch in Delhi,the coach – Harendra Singh – is not too affected by this and is looking to improve other areas of the game. “We have had a good tour of Europe and in these next few days will be looking to improve on the fitness of the players to get them ready for the games”,he said.

The sports complex has been popular with a few other Commonwealth Games disciplines as well. The women’s tennis camp,the rugby sevens camp,the shooting camp and the gymnastics camp conduct their day’s practice in the premises of the complex. Whether the lack of practice on tournament venues will affect their performance remains to be seen.

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