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Charlesworth: A huge task (5/30/2008)

With things beginning to change, Indian hockey’s technical advisor and Australian legend Ric Charlesworth feels the task of getting Indian hockey on the right track is a huge one. “India is near the bottom and need to lift ourselves up. The task now is to improve Indian hockey and it is a monumental task,” he said while speaking during the inauguration of a five-day workshop for hockey coaches at the Sports Authority of India’s Netaji Subhas Centre on the outskirts of the city.

The former Australian captain went on: “For every complex problem there is a simple solution but it is usually wrong. In India, the solution is complex and we have to work hard in the next few years.”

Charlesworth felt coaches should be helped to bring out the best in players. “Coaches exist so that players realise their potential. We have to empower coaches so that they can help players realise their potential.”

“There is a dearth of knowledge among coaches. But I think things will improve in the years to come.”

The legend, however, felt Indian hockey still had following. “Despite all the setbacks, there still is affection for Indian hockey and there is good media coverage. There are a lot of resources and we need to harness them.

“We have to set a goal and that should be the 2012 Olympics. The World Cup will come along but the aim will be London. There will be a lot of focus on the Asian Games in Guangzhou which will help us qualify for the Olympics.”

The coach felt Indian players stop playing rather early. “Between 25 and 30, players actually peak but Indians begin to retire at that age,” he said.

Commenting about his role in India he said: “I am not here to fix Indian hockey. I will focus on the elite teams. The IOA is receptive and knowledgable. The government understands that it has to help hockey. Their commitment is pleasing.”

Also present on the occasion were Karnataka State Hockey Association secretary K Krishnamurthy and former Indian captain MP Ganesh.

Ganesh said: “A few decades back we had coaches like Balkishen Singh and he went to Australia to teach. Now it is the reverse but it is a welcome move. We are learning from those who know.”

Courtesy: DH

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