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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Hockey World Cup 2018: Why the Irish have their mouths shut

Keeping last year’s incidents in mind, the Ireland team management has issued the strictest list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ for its players.

other-sports Updated: Dec 04, 2018 19:54 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Bhubaneswar
Ireland's player Shane O’Donoghue (2R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the field hockey group stage match between Australia and Ireland at the 2018 Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on November 30, 2018
Ireland's player Shane O’Donoghue (2R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the field hockey group stage match between Australia and Ireland at the 2018 Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on November 30, 2018(AFP)
         

They are being particularly careful after many players fell ill due to stomach bugs at the Hockey World League Final here last year. Germany lost the bronze medal clash 1-2 to India as many of their players could not take the field due to illness. In fact, they were forced to field their reserve goalkeeper, Mark Appel, as a forward.

Keeping last year’s incidents in mind, the Ireland team management has issued the strictest list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ for its players. Apart from disallowing street food and mandating a strict diet set by their dietician, it has barred players from swimming and taking shower with their mouths open!

“We have been extra diligent with what we eat, keeping ourselves clean, drinking bottled water. Also, from what I have read in the media, hotels have also put in extra care for us just to make sure we aren’t getting sick. All the food is appropriate. They have been making the food perfect for us and the water… it’s all perfect,” said Irish player Michael Darling.

“We are just being smart. We are from a different area in the world so maybe it is our bodies that are not accustomed to the water here. Maybe it is being over-cautious but that’s what we are doing. I don’t mind not swimming for two weeks in a pool if I can do it for the rest of my life. I can make that sacrifice.”

Ranked 10th in the world, Ireland gave defending champions Australia a tough fight in their opener, only to lose 1-2. They will take on China on Tuesday and will aim for a spot in the quarter-finals.

“I love it here. Hockey is at the forefront in India and perhaps the second biggest sport in India after cricket with a huge player base. Even the opening ceremony, we have never seen something like that happen for hockey,” said the 30-year-old on his second visit to India.

“It is just so exciting, even the crowd. We have a few supporters from Ireland but the crowd here… hundreds of thousands of Indians supporting us is great.”

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 19:54 IST

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