NIS coach laments ''black day'' of Indian hockey

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Patiala, Mar 10 (UNI) After India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, losing 0-2 loss to Britain today, a dejected National Institute of Sports (NIS) coach Bhupender Singh Dhillon called it a 'black day' for Indian hockey.

''It is the blackest day in Indian hockey,'' Dhillon told UNI.

''The last ten minutes of the game should have been used as a 'trigger period' which, according to new FIH rules, allows the team to pull out the goalkeeper and induct an attacking player,'' Dhillon stated.

He was baffled when chief coach Joaquim Carvalho did not take advantage of this new rule.

This is the first instance in 80 years that the Indian hockey team has failed to qualify for an Olympics. India, which won the gold medal during their debut in 1928 at the Amsterdam Olympics, has played in every Olympics since then, winning eight gold medals on the way.

A pall of gloom descended on the NIS as soon as the news was flashed on various TV channels about India's defeat.

''The 'wizard of hockey' captain Dhyan Chand, who was the chief coach at the NIS from 1961 to 1966, would have committed hara-kiri had he been alive today,'' Dhillon lamented.

In the league match too, Great Britain had beaten India 3-2 and Carvalho had attributed the debacle to ''lack of discipline'' on the part of Indian players.

Olympic hockey champions in 1988 at Seoul, Great Britain are a force to reckon with in world hockey, and the Indian team management should have known this very well in order to evolve a strategy to ensure victory.

This was the latest in a series of calamities for Indian hockey which has stumbled from one debacle to another in recent years.

In the last Asian Games at Doha, India failed to win a medal and were relegated to the fourth place.

UNI XC AB RAR BST1653

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