We are ashamed that India failed to qualify: IOA

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New Delhi, Mar 14 (UNI) ''We are ashamed at India's failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics,'' said Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Randhir Singh but fell short of criticising the IHF.

''Hockey is in bad shape so are the other games,'' Randhir Singh told media persons but ducked the question as to whether IOA will take any drastic action Indian hockey Federation(IHF).

The secretary general seemed to have come prepared to criticise IOA's favourite whipping target-the sports ministery and the government-but had to change his stance when media persons asked some vey uncomfortable questions.

Randhir Singh started with oening remarks which squarely blamed government for the dismal condidtion of the Indian sports.

''Olympics is just five and half months away and the camps are in shambles, Hockey is out but see what is happening to shooting, Archery and other camps,'' with these comments he opened his media conference but little did he realise that for once the media persons were not prepared to listen to his anti government tirade.

''What are you going to do with the IHF,'' he was asked pointedly and he tried to duck the queston saying IOA can not interfere in the functioning of the federation. It(IHF) is a autonomus body.

''If you can't do any thing why you have called this press conference,'' he was asked and Randhir suddenly realising that he can no longer humour the media persons he changed the track and said it is a question of collective responsiblity, we are all responsible for this mess, you(media) we and everybody involved with the game.'' The journalists were quick to retort saying hat they are not responsible for the hockey disgrace ''It is the IHF and IOA who are responsible''.

Randhir tried to pacify the journalists saying hat IOA is looking into the hole thing ''We have taken the issue very seriously, we are going to have a meeting with IHF to know what actually happened.'' ''Will IOA derecoganise he IHF or dissolve it(IHF) as was done in the seventies when Raja Bhalindra Sing was heading the IOA,'' he was asked and this question put Randhir in the bind.

''Well situation is different,'' he said and added ''I don't think it is possible, why to blame only the IHF officials, every body is responsible including players'' and this further angered the media people.

''Don't blame the players,'' the Journalists shouted back which rattled the IOA secretary general, who beat a hasty retreat saing No no I don't blame the players, we are all responsible.'' He surprised everybody by saying that government did not clear Ric Charlesworth to go to Chile with the Indian hockey team as a coach but again changed his statement when told by the media that it was IHF which did not want ECharlesworth to go with the team.

Randhir was asked why the IOA wants the money from the government but did not ant i to interfere and the IOA secretary general took refuge under IOC charter and also added that federation officials can not be changed because they re democratically elected and then ended the interaction.

UNI HSB CS RK1810

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