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Baljit excluded from core group for poor eyesight

There are many examples of sportspersons coming back form injuries and succeeding in international arena.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2011 01:13 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times

There are many examples of sportspersons coming back form injuries and succeeding in international arena. But Indian hockey goalkeeper Baljit Singh, who lost vision in his right eye in a freak accident at a camp in Pune two years back, has been denied that chance as he was excluded from the core group, on medical grounds, for the upcoming international matches.

It seems, Baljit's fate was decided even before the conclusion of the three-day trials at Bangalore to prune the probable list from 90-odd to 48. He was not allowed to take part in the trials after the first day with chief coach Michael Knobbs claiming that he can't play because of poor vision.

The selectors and team management seems to have conveniently forgotten that it was with the same blurred eyesight that Baljit helped Punjab bag the National Games gold medal in February this year. He was called to the camp on the basis of that performance.

Baljit is understandably livid with the "humiliating" treatment meted out to him.

"Everybody knew about my vision beforehand so why did HI call me for the camp? Just to humiliate me?" a dejected Baljit told HT from Banglore on Saturday. Baljit, who went out of contention after injuring his eye during the World Cup camp in July 2009, made a comeback to the domestic circuit last year.

His vision in the right eye is very poor and can't see objects beyond 15 yards. But with the same eyesight he guarded the goal for his team (Indian Oil), helping them win three out of the five major domestic tournaments he played in the last one year. And was also adjudged the best goalkeeper in two of those events.

"My only request to coaches was to don't go by the reports about my eyesight and judge me on the basis of my performance. But it seems they had already decided that they don't want me in the camp any more," said Baljit, claiming he had done better than other goalkeeper in the trials.

First Published: Jul 17, 2011 01:11 IST