Bad traffic: Argentina hockey team almost misses 1st practice session in Lucknow
The Argentina junior hockey team, in Lucknow for the Junior World Cup, was headed for its first practice session at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Thursday, when the team bus got stuck for a good half-an-hour at the Tedhi Pulia crossing.other sports Updated: Dec 02, 2016 11:35 IST
The Argentinean junior hockey team was stick-checked by the notorious Lucknow traffic, literally.
The team, which landed in the state capital on Wednesday and was headed for its first practice session at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Thursday, was stuck for a good half-an-hour at Tedhi Pulia crossing -- a perpetual headache for daily commuters -- and reached the venue just when the organisers were planning to cancel the session.
It was a queer sight, with curious players peering out of the windows and the escort vehicles trying frenetically to clear the road.
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“It’s really was a mess… total mismanagement. Imagine we are gearing up for the Junior Hockey World Cup here,” said an official on condition of anonymity. “What will happen when the event starts on December 8 and the team convoys and fans have to take this route,” he said.
The only remedy is for the teams to leave their hotels much in advance. “Every team has been assigned a certain training slot on the main pitch. If they get delayed by traffic, their training schedule will be shortened,” he added.
Former champions India will get a taste of what lies ahead when they take on Argentina of Friday. The side, which has been training here for the past week, will get a chance to try out various combinations as well as check the strengths and weaknesses of players in different positions. “It’s an opportunity to put the boys to test,” said an India team official.
For a better show
Meanwhile, the Netherlands and Austria reached Lucknow early Thursday. The Dutch qualified for the event after their title win in the 2014 EuroHockey Junior Championships and are one of the contenders for the title.
“Yes, we have come very close to winning the title before. We finished third in the 2013 World Cup in Delhi and runners-up in 2009 and we certainly want to do better this time around,” head coach Eric Verboom said. “Many players were playing the domestic league till last Sunday and I am happy to have the team together and looking forward to the start of the tournament.”
The Dutch, who finished runners-up in 1985 and 2009, also have a third-place finish in 1979 and 2013. They are in Pool B along with Belgium, Malaysia and Egypt.
“We are very excited to be here and apart from two players in the team who were part of the men’s squad that played in World Hockey League Final in Raipur, the rest of the players are coming to India for the first time,” added the coach. The Orange brigade will begin their campaign against Malaysia on December 9.
Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, South Africa and Belgium will land in the state capital on Friday.