Women's coach haggles over tour leave

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/h/hockey3.jpg' class='caption'> MK Kaushik, who should have been in Lucknow to coach the women's hockey team for the Olympic qualifiers, was in Delhi applying for leave from his employer

Updated: March 21, 2008 12:35 IST
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Lucknow | New Delhi:

If you ever wondered why Indian hockey teams have struggled to qualify for the Olympics, consider these two instances.

Ric Charlesworth wasn't given a ticket to go to Chile for the men's qualifiers. And now the women's coach MK Kaushik has had to leave the Lucknow camp because the women's hockey federation didn't bother to ask his employers for permission to extend his leave.

He should have been in Lucknow, training his girls but Kaushik is in Delhi instead, trying to sort out his leave with his employers, the Haryana Sports Ministry. Something the federation should have done.

Kaushik said, "I think there is a slack or there is delay on the part of the authorities, to apply for my leave or request to my department. That's what I look at from this side. But individually I feel hurt, because the delay should not be there."

Kaushik had applied for a month's leave, but wanted to extend it by another 30 days, for obvious reasons. Fortunately for him, he had prepared a proper roadmap to make sure that all goes well despite the obvious hassles of red tape.

AB Subbiah, the team's goalkeeping coach, says, "Kaushik made a programme till the team's departure on April 8 and we are following that quite well. There's no problem... even the girls are not affected because he'll be coming back tomorrow."

Mamta Kharab, the captain of the women's team, said the same thing as Subbaiah.

Indian Women's Hockey Federation officials weren't available for comment. But clearly Kaushik's leave isn't the only thing they haven't been able to sort out.

They are still trying to figure out how to pay him his per diems since he's not entitled to any from his employers while on leave. All in all, an unnecessary mess for the women's team hoping to qualify for the Olympics for just the first time since 1980.

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