Pillay, Jagbir ignore meetings, Ric sees some progress

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (UNI) Former Olympians Dhanraj Pillay and Jagbir Singh were conspicuous by their absence as under fire IHF chief KPS Gill today held intensive damage control excerice meetings with former skippers and chief coach Joaquim Carvalho here to devise ways to pull hockey out of the morass after the national team failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Pillay, who had a long running feud with Mr Gill, along with Jagbir, refused to play ball with the IHF and gave the meetings a miss.

However, later in the evening, the FIH appointed coach Ric Charlesworth hogged the limelight saying that, ''We have made some progress.'' Last evening, officials of the Sports Ministry and IHF decided that Charlesworth be entrusted with the charge of the development teams such as the under-19 and under-21 squads and not the men's senior side.

''Nothing has been communicated to me as yet but I have not come here for that,'' Charlesworth had asserted saying his ''contract has not been finalised.'' But this evening the Australian along with FIH official Bob Davidson had a long meeting with Gill and later said,''Talks are on,we made progress and we hope to have further rounds of meetings to settle the issue.'' Sources told UNI that in the meeting, several former Olympians were very critical of the IHF.

''I never saw so many players talking so openly against the functioning of the IHF,'' sources told UNI.

The Olympians wanted that to know as why the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC) is not functioning though Ms Vidya Stokes is its president.''She still has two more years as IHC chief but why is she not atending the meetings.'' The Olympians recommended that a technical sub-committee be formed and Charlesworth should be made a member of that committee.

They also wanted to know as to why Charlesworth is not being involved with the senior team to this Mr Gill is reported to have said that the IHF has not invited the Australian to be its coach.

The Olympians however insisted that Charlesworth should be with the senior team. ''There is no place for ego,'' they said, according to sources.

''Going by the discussions it seems IHF will have no alternative but to give Charlesworth a much bigger role in the coaching cum training of the senior team,'' the sources added.

Meanwhile Joaquim Carvalho refused to comment on the status of his resignation,''No comment'' was his reply when asked whether his resignation has been accepted.

Earlier in the morning, former captains Balbir Singh Sr, Ajitpal Singh, Zafar Iqbal, Harmik Singh, MP Ganesh, BP Govinda and MP Singh along with some other Olympians and Internationals were called for this urgent meeting to devise ways and means to put the game back on track.

Others who took part in the delibrations were team manager RK Shetty, Baldev Singh, and Charles Cornelius.

The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has come under tremandous criticism after India failed to make it to the Olympics for the first time in 80 years.

Indian Hockey made its debut in the Olympics in 19828.

Former Olympians including Ashok Kumar and Aslam Sher Khan have openly come out against the present IHF set up and have called for immediate end of the 14- year long regime of Mr KPS Gill.

UNI HSB AB HT2052

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