Gill meets Baljit, pledges support

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sports Minister MS Gill visited under-treatment India custodian Baljit Singh and promised every possible support to help the hockey player.

Updated: July 20, 2009 10:34 IST
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New Delhi:

Sports Minister MS Gill on Monday visited under-treatment India custodian Baljit Singh and promised every possible support to help the hockey player -battling a career-threatening eye injury to regain full vision.

Gill called on Baljit two days after the player underwent a three-hour surgery on his damaged right eye at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and assured the Ministry would foot the bill even if the player requires to be treated abroad.

"It is quite unfortunate that Baljit met with such a serious accident when we are preparing for 2010 Commonwealth Games," Gill said after meeting the player.

"But I have full faith on the doctors in AIIMS and they are convinced about his recovery. We will do whatever could be done to help him recover," he said.

"I am very, very concerned. Once he is discharged from the hospital, I assure his full rehabilitation and care in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre here. And if there is need to send him abroad, we will do that also," Gill added.

Baljit was hit on his right eye on Friday in Pune while practising with golf ball that sneaked through the visor of his helmet and the injury not only ruled him out of the Indian team's European tour starting July 24 but also jeopardises his career.

Baljit was rushed to Delhi on Saturday to undergo an emergency operation by a team of surgeons led by cornea specialist Dr Sudershan Khokhar.

Secretary general of Hockey India Mohd Aslam Khan also visited Baljit in AIIMS on Monday.

"This is a big blow for the Indian hockey. We got a quality goalkeeper after a long time and he was doing well in recent times. We are really concerned," he rued.

Asked about Baljit's current condition, Khan said, "He is otherwise physically fit and having meals regularly but we cannot say anything about his eyesight right now as he is under observation."

Ultrasonography tests carried out in Pune had showed the globe to have shrunken and deformed with the intra-ocular contents showing heterogeneous appearance with hemorrhage in the vitreous. The rupture has damaged the retina, cornea and lens of Baljit's right eye.

The 28-year-old national goalkeeper has been replaced in the Europe-bound team by PR Sreejesh for the four-week tour, during which India is scheduled to play 12 Test matches against England, Belgium, Spain and Holland.

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