M A I N   N E W S

Aslam heads selection panel; Ric adviser

KPS Gill
KPS Gill

New Delhi, April 28
The belligerence of KPS Gill came to an unceremonious end today with the Indian Olympic Association giving marching orders to the Indian Hockey Federation chief and suspending the body. A new selection panel will be headed by Aslam Sher Khan. Ric Charlesworth will be the adviser.

This drastic but ‘unanimous’ decision was taken at the emergency meeting of the excecutive committee of the IOA held here. Announcing the decision, IOA president Suresh Kalmadi told a crowded press conference, “the IHF has been suspended. The IOA is authorised to resolve that a five-member committee will take care of the IHF's proceedings.”

Kalmadi also made it clear that there were pressures from the FIH which threatened to scrap the 2010 World Cup in India if the present state of IHF is not improved.

“The IOA is a guarantor of the IHF for hosting the 2010 World Cup, therefore, it was all the more important for us to take an immediate action on the matter.

“We are committed to the autonomy of every federation but the FIH has made it clear that we need to take action on the current state of hockey in the country,” he added.

Former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, who spearheaded a relentless campaign against KPS Gill was appointed chairman of the five-member selection committee of the IHF.

The other members of the selection committee are also all olympians-Ajit Pal Singh, Zafar Iqbal, Ashok Kumar and Dhanraj Pillay.

Australian coach Ric Charlesworth will be the advisor to the selection committee.

The IHF was severely criticised after its secretary general K Jothikumaran was caught in camera while accepting money to include a player for the upcoming Azlan Shah hockey tournament. Kalmadi claimed that though KPS Gill was present in today’s meeting, Jothikumaran did not turn up.

‘’The former secretary general K Jothikumaran and IHF president KPS Gill were both given an opportunity to put forward their viewpoint. Mr Gill, however, did come but Jothikumaran missed the opportunity,’’ he said.

However, the president accepted that the issue was very important and a momentous decision has been taken in the history of Indian sports.

‘’This is a one-time decision taken because of the complexity and the seriousness of the issue and I feel that we have made a right decision in this regard,’’ Kalmadi stated.

He further expressed his hope that the verdict will help to improve the present state of hockey in the country.

‘’It was a unanimous decision and Mr Gill was sitting right through the meeting. Hopefully, things will get sorted out in the IHF.

‘’We will see how can we win a gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games which would be a step towards the 2020 Olympics and we are a contender to host that,’’ Kalmadi said.

The meeting held today was attended by almost every representative of the National Sports Federations (NSFs) apart from a few who had already conveyed to Kalmadi that they would support every decision taken by the IOA.

He also expressed his gratitude towards new Sports Minister MS Gill for including hockey in the ‘priority list’. — UNI



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