Indian hockey team management's plan to have a long preparatory camp for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi is unlikely to materialise, thanks to lack of boarding and lodging facilities.
“The accommodation is not ready, and the teams will start arriving in Delhi only after September 20. The hockey team, too, will reach Delhi around that time,” HI secretary general Narinder Batra told HT. The players, therefore, will get just about a fortnight to acclimatize and train at the stadium. Hockey India is now organising a camp in Pune and has asked the players to report by Wednesday.
What's surprising is the involvement of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in the Pune camp as Hockey India has been de-recognised by the government. The SAI has issued instructions to its regional centre in Kandivali, Mumbai, to make all the necessary arrangements for the camp. Virendra Bhandarkar, Assistant Director, SAI Training Centre (STC), Kandivali, is camping in Pune since last week to make arrangements for the camp.
Unlike in the women's camp in Patiala where it sent out information to the probables and the selectors, the SAI has refrained from intimating the probables and coaching staff about the camp in Pune. HI advisor Anupam Gulati is carrying out the job in Pune.
“I have only been asked to make arrangements for the camp. I haven't received a list of probables from SAI head quarter. I have no idea whether SAI or IOA will select the team,” said Bhandarkar.
As many as 37 players will report for the camp to prepare for the CWG and the Asian Games, scheduled to be held three weeks after the Delhi Games in China.
Although the gold in the CWG will come as a huge boost, the team management would put more emphasis on winning the continental event as it will ensure them a place in the 2012 Olympics in London.