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Luck(now) for Indian hockey eves

WHEN THE pint-sized tribal girl Jyoti Sunita Kullu carried the Indian Tricolour at the opening ceremony of the Doha Asian Games, she had many things in her mind.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 11:32 IST

WHEN THE pint-sized tribal girl Jyoti Sunita Kullu carried the Indian Tricolour at the opening ceremony of the Doha Asian Games, she had many things in her mind. Among the major ones was the reputation of her luckiest training centre far away in Lucknow. And she didn?t forget it even after the Indian eves outplayed South Korea in the hard-line match to win the bronze medal on Wednesday, she called up her well-wishers at the SAI Sub-Centres here to convey her ?big thanks? to all. Mamta Kharab had scored the only goal in the first half. ?Now, our belief is confirmed that Lucknow centre is the luckiest for us,? Kullu reportedly told the sub-centre authorities over phone from Doha. But, much before that the celebrations had already began here, and the deputy director of the centre Rajinder Singh himself distributed sweets among all staff members. ?We all were watching every moment of the third-placed match and it sounds really exciting that our team won the bronze medal in the end,? said Singh, adding, ?This was what we all told Team India before their departure for Doha from here after finishing the 40-day training.? The Indian women?s team carry great ?luck? as far as their training at the Lucknow-based centre was concerned. In 2005, after attending the first full-fledged camp here, the Indian eves finished runners-up in the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup, and subsequently claimed the silver medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games this year after their second camp here. They attended a camp here before last month?s World Cup, but spent just six days before moving to the SAI Centre in Bhopal. Out of 12 teams, Indian eves finished a shaky 11th at the World Cup. ?Yes, Lucknow has proved lucky for us so far and we will try our best to maintain this belief in the future also,? said team?s chief coach and former hockey Olympian Kishan Maharaj Kaushik over phone from New Delhi. ?There was tremendous pressure on us after a pathetic show at Madrid, so we were very conscious at the camp in Lucknow,? he said, adding, ?The kind of support we got there (SAI centre) was extra-ordinary and I will personally suggest the top authorities to always hold the camp in Lucknow.? ?Winning medals at Doha was our mission after the World Cup, and I am happy that our girls did it in style,? said Kaushik, who was presented with a ?pagari? at the time of team?s send-off. ?Now, I can wear my Red pagari as we have proved our potential at the Asiad,? said the veteran star. ??The girls did improve their position and didn?t miss many chances. Penalty-corner conversion remained a problem in the beginning, but we tried our best to erase this weakness in the later stages of the Games.? sharadindian@gmail.com

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