India's plunge down the hockey pecking-order continued as the junior team failed to qualify for the quarterfinal league in the Junior Men's World Cup, finishing third in their preliminary round group in Singapore on Friday.
India had done exceedingly well in the last three editions, winning the title in 2001 and finishing second in 1997.
India defeated Poland 4-2 in their final Pool D match but their fate was sealed as New Zealand held group leaders the Netherlands to a 2-2 draw and finished second in the group behind the Dutch (10) with eight points. India, who lost to the Netherlands 3-2 on Thursday, finished with seven points and will now play for the 9-12 position. Chief coach A K Bansal alleged that Netherlands and New Zealand had ‘fixed’ the draw to keep India out.
“In the press conference after our match against Holland, their coach said they will do their utmost not to play India in the semifinals or later. They managed that with this result and it was evident from the manner in which the two teams played they were going for a draw. Holland scored twice but after that their players did not make an effort to score. New Zealand scored in the last 15-17 minutes to draw 2-2,” Bansal said ruefully over phone from Singapore.
Bansal said India had an inkling that such a thing could happen but said there was no point in complaining to the sport's world governing body. “No point complaining now. If we had won our match against Holland or New Zealand, we would not have been in this position,” Bansal said.
Chikka wins title
Bangalore: Chikkarangappa held his nerves to win his maiden title on the LG Indian Amateur Golf Tour. In the final round played at the Eagleton on Friday, it all boiled down to the final hole where Chikka, hit a brilliant second shot to maintain one-shot lead and win the LG Karnataka Open title. He finished with a commendable total of nine-under 279.