Nobbs, Rajpal rue India losing Champions Trophy hosting rights

New Delhi: India hockey team coach Michael Nobbs and captain Rajpal Singh today said that moving the Champions Trophy out of India may prove to be a hindrance to the team`s preparations for the London Olympic qualifiers.

"It would hinder our preparations for the Olympics," said Nobbs.

Rajpal also agreed that India would face problems as they would be left with only one tournament to qualify for London.

"It will be a problem for us to qualify for the London Olympics after India losing hosting rights for Champions Trophy," the captain said.

The Champions Trophy is meant for the top eight ranked hockey nations and India`s current position is ninth. If the tournament was organised in India, they would have been able to participate on account of being the host. It would have also given them a chance to qualify for the Olympics as well.

But now, with the tournament`s hosting rights given to New Zealand, India`s only chance of qualifying for the Olympics would be by playing in the qualifiers, to be held here in February next year.

Nobbs, however, said that India`s victory at the recently-concluded Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China would surely give them the confidence of making it to London.

"There are some realistic chances for us to qualify for the Olympics but it is going to be extremely tough," said the coach at the sidelines of a function organised by the Sports Ministry to felicitate the team for its outstanding show in the tournament.

India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 via tie-breaker in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy to clinch the title, which also assumes great significance for Nobbs as it was his first assignment with the team.


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