Friday, December 1, 2023

‘Mishandled’: Dr Batra meets India coach after criticising team’s performances

Graham Reid, the India men’s coach, met with Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra this week after he criticised the national hockey side’s recent peformances.

Batra, who is also International Hockey Federation (FIH) president, had asked Hockey India to explain the team’s “unacceptable” performance in Bangladesh and South Africa – for Asia Cup and FIH Pro League matches – following its bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

“Met today with Graham Reid chief/head coach Indian men hockey team… coming from Bhubaneswar to see me in Delhi,” said Batra.

“Had detailed discussion on Indian men hockey team’s performance in Bangladesh and South Africa. We further discussed about preparations till 2022 Asian Games which is an Olympic qualifier for both Indian men and women hockey teams.

“Only by winning gold medal in Asian Games is direct qualification for 2024 Paris Olympics.”

Batra had previously issed a terse communication to Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam and hinted that the team was being mismanaged.

“I have serious concerns about the way Indian men’s hockey team has performed after Tokyo bronze medal. In Bangladesh and now in South Africa. Blaming the players … is not ultimate and only truth for me,” Batra had said in the message.

India lost its defence of the Asian Champions Trophy title in December and recently lost to lower-ranked France in South Africa.

“The way the team is performing is not at all acceptable and please see where the problems are at all levels. I will not accept Team India to be mishandled and mismanaged, such incompetence will have to make way,” added Batra.

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