WSH gets National Stadium, Olympic camps shifted out
New Delhi: The national hockey camp for the Olympic qualifiers will not be held in the capital as the government has allotted the Dhyan Chand National Stadium here to the World Series Hockey (WSH).
Announcing this Friday, Hockey India (HI) secretary general Narinder Batra said he has received an intimation from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) that the camp, both for men as well as women, could not be held here.
"It is for the government to decide where it wants to hold the camps, we are waiting for the response," said Batra.
SAI was caught in the tussle between HI and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), co-sponsors of the WSH with Nimbus Sports.
The WSH kicks off on Dec 17, clashing with the camp for men from Dec 11 and the women from Dec 27.
HI had planned warm-up tournament before the Feb 15-26 Olympic qualifiers.
Both the federations wanted the National Stadium which had been refurbished for the Commonwealth Games.
While HI is backed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), new life was breathed into IHF after the Delhi High Court lifted its suspension by Indian Olympic Association last year and restored to it the status of the national federation for the sport.
IHF president RK Shetty said that he is happy that the government has cleared their application and that they never wanted to disrupt the camp, which was originally scheduled to be held after the WSH.
"We are happy that we got the clearance from the government for the use of the National Stadium for the WSH. We never wanted to come in the way of the national team`s preparation for the Olympic qualifiers. Originally, the national camp was scheduled from Jan 27 and that is why we fixed the WSH dates from Dec 17 to Jan 22," Shetty said.
"They (HI) are arranging some matches against Australia at the venue before the qualifiers and we told the government that we will not have any problem, if it is held in the National Stadium on days we do not have any WSH match," he said.
Shetty also said that none of the Indian players have communicated their decision not to play in WSH.
"So far we have not heard from the players and we do not want to disturb them in the midst of an important tournament, the Champions Challenge. I will talk to them after their return from Johannesburg."
HI had produced letters where 12 national players have confirmed their availability for the national camp in writing.
The players are Bharat Chetri, Tushar Khandekar, Yuvraj Walmiki, PR Sreejesh, Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Danish Mujtaba, K. Chinglensana Singh, Manjeet Kullu, Birendra Lakra and Manpreet Singh.