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CT pull-out will hurt Olympic preparations: Dhanraj

Former India hockey captain and four-time Olympian Dhanraj Pillay could not help but feel sorry for hockey players and fans of the sub-continent after world hockey's governing body, FIH yesterday snatched the Champions Trophy from India citing "ongoing problems with the governance of hockey in the country." The tournament was to be played at the National Stadium in New Delhi from December 3-11.

"It's very sad because Indian players and fans will be deprived of some world-class hockey now that the Champions Trophy has been pulled out of India. It's a shame really to the warring hockey federations in the country," Pillay told MiD DAY yesterday.

"We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India. It is difficult for the teams, the organisers and the fans. But we feel that this is the only way to maintain the integrity of our sport," FIH president Leandro Negre said yesterday.

Pillay said that at least now the game's warring federations -- Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation -- should realise their wrongdoing. "The federations and their members will be where they are whether the Champions trophy is played in India or not. The players will be most affected.

We have the all-important Olympic Qualifiers early next year, and it is every hockey player's dream to play in the Olympics. But sadly, due to this, that dream could be shattered," said Pillay, as he went on to explain the reason. "The Champions Trophy is contested by some of the world's top-most hockey playing nations and if this was played in India, we would have had the advantage of being able to watch these teams from close quarters. There's a huge difference in watching teams playing live and watching them play on TV. Our coach (Michael)  Nobbs and his staff would have been in a better position to plan our Olympic preparations accordingly. Unfortunately, that won't be the case now," he signed off.

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