The Hindu

Refreshed Team Begins Final Preparation

02 December, 1996

Refreshed and relaxed after the yoga exercises and yogic experience at an ashram in Poondi, about 30km off Coimbatore, under the guidance of Swami Jaggi Vasudev, the Indian hockey team began its final preparation for the Kuber Champions Trophy at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium last evening. India takes on the defending champion, Germany, in the opening match on December 7.

The first workout encompassed every area of play with the coaches. V. Bhaskaran, and his assistant, Baldev Singh, supervising closely the players in action.

Bhaskaran agreed that the four day yoga course was quite an experience. "Initially, it was not easy, but within two days all of us enjoyed it. Actually, such a training should be for a longer period," Bhaskaran said. The players, however, would have the benefit of continued training till the final, under two members from the ashram, S. Shivakumar and Jayakumar, who will stay with the team. "Certain aspects of training and food will be monitored by us." Shivakumar said.

There was a formal inauguration of the camp presided over by Mr. P. K. Sharma, Chairman, Kuber Group, the title sponsor for the Champions Trophy. In a brief speech intended to serving as a morale booster to the players, Mr. Sharma outlined his passion behind the endeavour in going all out to see India regaining its lost glory. He pointed out that it was bad luck rather than poor play that was responsible for India's failure at Atlanta. He felt it was only a passing phase.

Mr. Sharma was confident that India would come back with flying colours, and it was the responsibility of Kuber Group to ensure all the benefits reached the players. In this regard, he referred to the incentives offered by Kuber Group — Rs. 11 lakhs for a trophy triumph and Rs. 51,000 for each victory in the tournament. This is aside of the sponsorship deal with the IHF, which is Rs. 2.1 crores.

Mr. K. Jothikumaran, Secretary, Indian Hockey Federation, announced sale of tickets would com¬mence today at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium. The rates are Rs. 25 for daily and Rs. 75 for the final for galleries — the season ticket is priced at Rs. 250 — and Rs. 100 daily, and 200 on the final day — season ticket Rs. 750. He also detailed the torch relay programme within the Tamil Nadu State.

The relay commences today from Kanyakumari and will touch Tirunelveli, Kovilpatti, Madurai, Thanjavur, Tiruchi. The torch will reach Tambaram on December 5 and will reach the Rajaratnam Stadium at 1pm. and the venue at 4pm. All the Olympians and former international players are expected to participate in the ceremony.


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