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28 girl hockey trainees escape from hostel, brought back

Bhubaneswar: Twenty-eight girl hockey trainees, who had fled from a government-run sports hostel here and reached Rourkela, were brought back to the training centre today.

"All the 28 tribal girls, who had fled from the hostel in Kalinga Stadium complex on Saturday, were brought here from the steel city by a special bus," hostel Superintendent Bijay Kumar Kanungo said.

The trainees, who hail from Sundargarh district, were escorted by two senior coaches, including a woman, from Rourkela, he said adding that the girls are fine and taking part in regular training activities at the centre.

The trainees, all tribals, had quietly left the hostel at the stadium on Saturday without informing anyone and after
reaching the steel city met Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Rourkela K S Chakroborty.

Hostel officials had confirmed that the trainees had left but were clueless about the possible reason.

"There is nothing serious about their move. Actually they had come to Rourkela because they felt very homesick.
There were some small issues," Chakroborty said.

Senior hockey coach A N Bihari, who is considered the mentor of the players, earlier said the trainees, who happen to be extremely simple and sentimental, went to Rourkela for no serious reason and would return soon.

"We spoke to the trainees and they were convinced about the need to return to the state capital for better training," said Bihari.

Soon after the players met him, the ADM had called up the coach A N Bihari from the local Panposh Hockey Academy to discuss the matter. The trainees had been sent to their old academy before return to Bhubaneswar.

The ADM claimed that the trainees had told him about good facilities available at Bhubaneswar hostel. But since probably they had developed strong emotional attachment with their old academy they went back to Rourkela, he said.

Subrat Tarai, MLA from Raghunathpalli, also joined in the meeting after he came to know about the developments.

The trainees had earlier been shifted to Bhubaneswar during April-May for higher training. They had joined the hockey academy at the age of 12, sources said.

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