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Triple humiliation for India – and how (3/15/2010)
--K. Arumugam
Triple humiliation for India – and how

On the opening day of the Delhi World Cup, strange results occurred. Australia lost to England while India defeated Pakistan.

Events later proved it was the lone defeat of Australia and lone win for India in the whole of World Cup.

But our policy makers and politicians -- who masquerade as sports administrators -- jumped to some nasty conclusion on that day.

A television reporter asked Suresh Kalmadi to compare Jose Brasa and Ric Charlesworth after India-Pak match.

Kalmadi said before the national media: “Brasa is better than Charlesworth”.

We don’t know the knowledge base of Kalmadi on this subject, but whenever the television channels repeated his wisdom, I had to only hid my laugh.

12 days later, Chaleswroth’s boys stood on the podium, Kalmadi along with the FIH president walked proudly and presented the gold medals to Australian team.

I am not sure Kalmadi remembered his comparison at that moment, but hopefully not.

For a moment I only shudder to think had only Charlesworth continued on his Indian mission, which he left even before it commenced, India would have been a better team than it was in the last fortnight.

Then national coach Joaquim Carvalho never allowed Ric to interact with players, the bureaucracy, in full wavelength with KPS Gill, put all the brakes in Ric’s moves forward, they even had him stranded in Australia when the Men’s Olympic qualifier was held in distant Chile.

Then KPS Gill, Carvalho and all crooks had to leave hockey scene unceremoniously with the Chile disaster.

It was expected the situation will be better once these gentlemen left, but as quirk of fate would have it, some SAI officials and the new Sports Minister MS Gill turned out to be the villain of the piece.

MS Gill, during Hyderabad Junior Asia Cup finals said; “Why is Charlesworth not here. We have players whose house is full of gold medals, they can be better coaches than him, and we can pay them one tenth of what we pay to a foreigner”.

This was, call it innocence, ignorance or arrogance, he said these. Charlesworth did not come for Hyderabad because he was to attend Legends Hall of Fame function in Perth, for which he informed SAI two months in advance!

I had the opportunity to be with Charlesworth covering a full tournament. It was in Kazan, Russia.

We were the only two from India, and I am very much impressed the way he involved with the women’s team. He was passionate, running to the team in the half time, advising and guiding, and addressed India as ‘we’.

MK Kaushik was the only Olympian or coach who welcomed Charlesworth in India, and extended professional courtesy.

At Kazan, I recorded his interview where he clearly mentioned he will quit India soon and he had made up his mind.

During Kazan days, he had amble problem as there was no one in the whole of ministry to renew his work permit, and was even asked to stay extra five days in Moscow!

Then came MS Gill, the Ad-hoc Committee, and other uncertainties, which paved way for Charlies’ early return to Australia. He did not waste his time, quickly took up Aussie men’s assignment.

When he wanted to meet Sports Minister to discuss the problems, he refused him audience, Charleworth had to request Australian High Commission to get his appointment! Such was the humiliation the legend had to undergo here when he opted to coach us under Promoting Indian Hockey Project.

Every Olympian in India asked why was Australia did not give him men’s coaching job and they said that to justify their dislike for Charlesworth – whose only sin is speaking truth, calling spade a spade.

Had he been allowed to continue in India, he would have coached our team for almost 2 years, we would have certainly fared far far better.

Now on 13th March, he proved all of them wrong, from Kalmadi to MS Gill, to Joaquim Carvalho.

He became the first World Cup gold medalist to coach a national team to World Cup gold.

This he achieved in India, and we Indians finished far lower than most of the teams.

The home World Cup loss of face is cumulative sin of all those former Olympians, ministers, IFH and IOA bosses.

The FIH went with a booty which is ours in normal situation, their Tournament Director humiliated India with Shivender’s ban, and then the coach we berated led his wards win the Cup. If you look at one way -- and it is the correct way -- India has been humiliated not once or twice, but thrice in the last fortnight.

We deserve this. It is of our own making

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