Indian team leaves for US

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:07 IST

India's hockey probables have left for the US in their final stages of preparation for the mega event starting in Athens in August.

Indian team leaves for US

New Delhi:

Seeking to bring Olympic glory back to the country after a gap of over two decades, India's hockey probables have left for the US in their final stages of preparation for the mega event starting in Athens in August. Eight-time Olympic winners India have not won a medal since the boycott-marred Moscow Games in 1980, but the a€˜probablesa€™ led by Dhanraj Pillay are upbeat about their chances in Athens. The training at Arizona, in the US, will be followed by similar training camps in Holland and Germany. In between the team will play two four-nation tournaments in Amsterdam and Dusseldorf. "The tournaments would be crucial as there we can put into use whatever we learn in the training camps. We need to perform well in these competitions," 35-year-old Dhanraj said. Focus on fitness The veteran of over 400 internationals said the camps would give special attention on the fitness of the players, who would also benefit from the experience of foreign trainers. "Fitness will be the main focus. The training would help us do well in Athens. We have over two months time. We have expert trainers from the US and Germany besides those from India. So they would work together and help us getting better," the captain said. All the 26 probables except Baljit Singh Dhillon left for the United States in the early hours of today. The veteran forward from Punjab is likely to join the team in a couple of days. "He has some formalities to complete and would be joining us in a day or two. Indian Hockey Federation can give a clearer picture on his position," chief coach Rajinder Singh said without going into details. Rajinder said besides physical training, the probables would also undergo technical training in the US. "The team has been selected after a lot of testing. In USA we would be giving the players some technical training as well." On Jugraj Singh, Rajinder said that the next two months would determine whether the player has recovered enough to resume playing at the highest level. And the nation continues to hope that this talented penalty corner specialist will regain his glorious form by August, when the Olympics get underway. (With PTI inputs)

Topics : Hockey
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