Gill defends remark against former Olympians

Indian Hockey Federation chief K P S gill held a press conference in the capital today.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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New Delhi:

Indian hockey might be celebrating a new beginning with the launch of the Premier Hockey League but off the field the developments are getting messier. IHF President KPS Gill who faces a virtual revolt within his federation spoke to the media today and admitted that hiring Gerhard Rach as National coach was a mistake. He however, refused to back down on his earlier comments where he had called former Olympians who played after 1966 a bunch of losers. Gill shared the stage with his vice-president Narinder Batra who had stood by the criticism of his boss not just for his unfortunate comments but also for the autocratic functioning of his own federation. "I just want to say that I have objected to the statements regarding the Olympians and also regarding the retirement of players. It is the players prerogative to retire and you cannot force them to retire, these are the things I said and I stand by them," said Batra. Refusing to bend However, the super cop with the super ego refused to bend. He said he is right in calling former Indian Olympians who played after 1966 a bunch of losers. "I stand by what I said but there cannot be too much of weightage to those who have not reached any pinnacle of achievement. That gives a fillip to mediocrity, which is bad for the country," said Gill. However, if Gill has been dismissive of Indian players then he is even more scathing when it comes to former coaches. 'Media pressure' Reacting to Gerhard Rach's allegation that the IHF was a mad house, Gill chose to pick on the German coach's communication skills saying that Rach could not speak English. And as always there was a parting shot with the former DG of Police saying that he will no longer take any decision under media pressure. But now he faces a different kind of pressure with his vice-president insisting that he has mustered up the numbers to challenge Gill at next year's election. While Gill has said that he will not contest next year, nobody seems to believing that just as yet.