We've been cheated, says Rach

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> A seething Indian coach Gerhard Rach today blamed India's shock defeat to New Zealand in the Olympic Games to a wrong umpiring decision.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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A seething Indian coach Gerhard Rach today blamed India's shock defeat to New Zealand in the Olympic Games men's hockey competition to a wrong umpiring decision and said his team had been "cheated" out of the contest. India conceded a goal from a controversial penalty corner in the last minute of the contest to go down to a spirited New Zealand 2-1 in their group-B league match at the Helleniko Hockey Centre. The shock defeat dashed India's slim hopes of winning an Olympic medal after a gap of 24 years. "I just don't know how the umpire who is 80 metres away with the sun in his eyes can see whether the ball hit the legs or not. When the umpire who is close by cannot see it, how can he see it? They are cheating us," Rach said. Controversy over penalty corner The coach was referring to Spanish umpire Xavier Adell's decision to award a penalty corner to New Zealand after the final hooter, overruling fellow umpire Simon O'Connor, who had signalled the end of the match. India lodged a formal protest with the organising committee against Adell's umpiring decision by depositing 500 euros as per the International Hockey Federation rules but the appeal was turned down. "Personally, I didn't want to lodge a formal protest. It is a waste of money. I think the IHF could have used the money for the development of the game in India. It could have been used for the benefit of the players," Rach said sarcastically. Rach, however, accepted that his team had played below par in the tournament and did not deserve a place in the semi-finals of the mega event. "Nothing seems to have gone right for us right through the tournament. We were also very unlucky. I don't know why it is happening to us only," he said. "Our players are physically tired. They are not being able to increase the speed when it matters, that is the problem. Our forwards were not able to convert the chances that came their way. These are some of the reasons for us not being able to win," he said. Worrying factors Rach said injuries to several players have also been a worrying factor and at this rate he might even struggle to field 11 fit players for the last league match against Argentina. "Deepak (Thakur) is in hospital with a chest injury. we had to take him to the hospital with an oxygen mask. (Baljit Singh) Dhillon also has a shoulder injury while William Xalco has a thumb injury and has been ruled out of the tournament", he said. "There are so many injuries that I don't know if I will be able to find 11 fit players for the next match." Rach, who took over the reins just a few weeks before the Games after Rajinder Singh was unceremoniously sacked, strangely said he was treating the Olympics as a preparation for the Champions trophy in Chennai next year. "It takes time to build the team. We have to be given some time. We are seeing the Games as a preparation for the Champions Trophy in Chennai." (PTI)

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