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Hockey team may train in Singapore

New Delhi: Keen to make amends for the Champions Trophy debacle, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) may take the team to Singapore for a crash training session under floodlights in the lead-up to the Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur where all matches will be played under lights.

The IHF wants to leave no loopholes this time around after it drew flak for picking Lucknow as the venue for the preparatory camp for the Champions Trophy in Holland.

“We have put in a request to the sports ministry for clearance of the training stint in Singapore. We need at least five days for the boys to practise under floodlights,” IHF secretary K. Jothikumaran said.

“Since we do not have floodlit astroturf stadiums in the country, it is imperative for the team to get some kind of exposure to night conditions,” the IHF secretary said.

The probables will also undergo a training camp beginning on September 8 for the September 21-28 tournament. Jothikumaran put to rest speculation that the IHF may sack chief coach Rajinder Singh and bring in a foreigner.

“There is no question of changing the coach. But we are considering hiring a foreign expert. I think there is no harm in acquiring an expert who can assist our coaches,” Jothikumaran said.

The IHF secretary also ruled out major changes in the team. “We will not make any drastic changes at least till the Asia Cup. We do not want to upset the balance of the team. We will wait and watch till the Asia Cup.”

Jothikumaran conceded the performance of the team in Holland left much to be desired. “It is a matter of concern. Our midfield needs to be strengthened. If we iron out these weaknesses we will be a tough team to beat,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gagan Ajit Singh and Jugraj Singh will conduct hockey clinics for school children here on Thursday.

In the clinics, the two players will interact and coach the students the finer points of the game. (PTI)

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