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Cup of woes for junior hockey skipper

india Updated: Jun 23, 2009 23:18 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times
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It was an usual morning at the Gorakhpur Railway Station when a young boy, sporting blue denims and dark glasses, stepped out of the Vaishali Express that came to a halt on platform No. 1.

Returning after India’s disastrous outing in the Junior Hockey World Cup in Singapore, the reception the city accorded Diwakar Ram, the team’s skipper, was cold.

Coming out of the station, the 20-year-old waited for a while before brother Prabhakar Ram, along with some close friends, received him.

Disappointed with the cold reception, Diwakar, however, vowed to bounce back stronger soon after his arrival on Tuesday.

“I am looking for an opportunity with the senior team for the 2010 World Cup. I hope to erase the bitter memories of this tournament by doing well for the seniors.”

Junior national coach A. K. Bansal, meanwhile, felt that tactical shortcomings let the team down, though he was satisfied with the overall performance of the team.

“Some tactical mistakes were responsible for our defeat. The change in format too didn’t help us,” Bansal told Hindustan Times after reaching New Delhi on Monday night.

During the campaign, the team scored 42 goals in eight matches, the highest by any team in the event, while conceding just nine.

“I think poor anticipation by our goalkeeper (Mrinal Dubey) in the crucial match against the Netherlands dashed our semifinal hopes, after being held 2-2 by New Zealand in another pool match,” said Bansal.

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