Batra backs HI’s decision to pull out of the C’Wealth Games
Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra on Friday backed Hockey India’s decision to pull out of next year’s Commonwealth Games to ensure greater focus on the Asiad, saying “hard decisions” have to be taken for bigger goals and it wasn’t feasible to even send a second-string team.
Hockey India withdrew from the Games on Tuesday, saying that there was only a 32-day window available between the Birmingham Games (July 28-August 8) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25).
HI said it was unwilling to risk sending its players to the UK, which has been one of the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Batra said it was the correct call, given that an Asiad gold would ensure direct qualification to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“You will peak at the CWG, come back home for 15 days for a break.
“By the time you come back you have to go to China and you have not played for a month, then you want India to win,” said Batra, who is also President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Batra made the comments at a function organised by Maharashtra Olympics Association’s Secretary General Namdev Shirgaonkar and the Goa Olympics Association.
“These are some hard decisions that you have to take. I will be blamed and become unpopular among players because a gold medal (at CWG) can fetch you ₹50 lakh. (But) I have to take a call on what is more important and that is qualifying for the Olympics,” he explained.
“If you want to send a B team, there is no B team right now with us. You cannot send players with poor fitness,” he added.
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