Hockey team gives India a reason to smile after a long time: Kalmadi

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New Delhi, May 20 (UNI) IOA president and the ad hoc committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi today lauded India's runner-up finish in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament and described it as a great achievement for the national game after a long time.

Kalmadi, who felicitated some of the members of the Indian hockey team at his residence here today said, ''It's a great achievement and team has given us a reason to smile after a long time. It's a moment of great pride for all of us.'' The IOA president further added that though it was a great achievement, it demands a lot of efforts from here on and the Indian hockey still has miles to go.

''It is a special day but just a start and we still have a long way to go.

He pointed out that the team which mainly comprised juniors have proved a point and the selectors, too, should be complemented for the success.

''It is a great achievement that such a young team whose average age was just 20.5 years have brought laurels to the country.

''All the players have played as a unit. As a whole we are satisfied with the team's performance in Malaysia,'' Kalmadi added.

The IOA president also hinted that Indian hockey will once again emerge as a super power and said the players will be equiped with all the necessary facilities in coming time.

''We need atleast 100 astroturfs in India and we will speak to the Sports Minister about it.

''We plan to continue the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in the country and there are suggestions that the players should undergo 100 days of international training which will be thought about as well,'' he said.

Kalmadi, who along with all the National Sports Federations (NSFs) dissolved the IHF being run by KPS Gill, stated that the ad hoc committee will continue to work ''till it is necessary'' and thanked the International Olympic Committee for their constant support.


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