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HI pins Olympic blame on Gurbaj?

india Updated: Oct 09, 2012 23:30 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Instead of analysing the reasons for India's debacle at the London Olympics -- the men's team finished last -- Hockey India (HI) has strangely put the blame on one player -- Gurbaj Singh.

On Tuesday, HI released a list of 48 probables for the Champions Trophy, to be held in Australia, and Gurbaj's was the only name missing from the Olympic squad. Moreover, HI also included the 16 campers who had failed to make the cut for the Olympics.

This leads us to the question that has Gurbaj been made a scapegoat by HI?

"Gurbaj was one of the players who had opposed HI's move to felicitate the Asia Cup-winning squad. Since then, HI was looking at an opportunity to settle scores," said a member of the India squad.

"Moreover, Gurbaj was on HI's radar during the Champions Challenge Trophy when he refused to sign an undertaking that he would not play in the World Series of Hockey (WSH)," he added.

After returning from the Olympics, Gurbaj played in the recently concluded national championship and was a key member of the victorious Punjab team.

"How can you put the blame on one player? There were other players who didn't perform in London," said former national coach Harendra Singh, a Dronacharya awardee.

"By doing this, HI is setting a wrong example. They should keep one thing in mind that ego is not bigger than the sport," he added.

Gurbaj, who is playing in an all-India tournament in Ludhiana, refused to comment on the development. "I have nothing to say. It's purely HI's decision," he said.

WSH players on standbys' list
The inclusion of nine players, who had played the WSH league, on the standbys' list for the national camp has opened the doors of the India team to WSH players. HI had earlier termed it an unsanctioned event.

"As these players have played the nationals, we have included them. HI has yet to get FIH (world body) clearance for them and that's why we have put them on the standbys' list," said senior selector Col Balbir Singh.