Ministry rubbishes HI claim, says it`s out to scuttle WSH

New Delhi: The Sports Ministry on Monday strongly refuted Hockey India`s claim that it had refused permission for the national camp in Bangalore, saying it was the HI which had changed the dates of the camp in order to scuttle the World Series Hockey.

Hockey India sources on Sunday said that the Sports Ministry was yet to approve the training camp, which was scheduled to start at the SAI centre in Bangalore from Monday.

Rebutting the charge, a Sports Ministry source said that as per the decision in the Steering Committee Meetings on February 6 and 10, it was decided that the first phase of the national camp, leading up to London Olympics, will be held from March 13 to April 27.

A representative of HI was also present in the Steering Committee meeting.

But on February 27, the day after India qualified for the London Olympics, HI Secretary Narinder Batra wrote a letter to Sport Ministry, saying that the national camp, which will have 48 players in it, be started from March 5.

According to Batra`s letter, the 18 players who have qualified for the Olympics "will be on active rest" from February 28 to March 14. They will join the camp on March 15 while the rest of the 30 players, many of whom playing in the World Series Hockey, will join from the beginning on March 5.

"The previous plan was to have the camp in Bangalore from March 13 but Hockey India changed it with malafide intentions so that those Indian players who were with WSH do not join it," a Sports Ministry source said.

"After everything was finalised, it was Batra who wrote a letter to us just a day after India qualified for the Olympics that the national camp be allowed to begin from March 5 with the fringe players taking part in it," the source said.