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My role is that of catalyst for Indian Hockey: Charlesworth

New Delhi, Nov 10 (UNI) Former Australian olympian Ric Charlesworth says that his role as an expert coach to Indian Hockey will be that of a catalyst and hoped that the game will regain its past glory in the country in near future.

But he hastened to add that there is no quick fix solution, ''I am no magician, to improve the standard of the game in India needs lot of hard work and long term planning.'' ''My role is to see the development of a through long term strategy for the improvement of Indian hockey"Charlesworth told media persons here today, adding, ''We will be steerring a new course with fresh ideas and immediate practical assistance where required in the short term.'' He said World hockey needs India. '' It is important that hockey improves in India not because of commercial reasons but also the way it is played.The game has a mass base and a support and that is a very crucial aspect" Charlesworth, who coached the Australian women hockey team for eight years during which it won the gold in the Atlanta and Sydney Olympic games,said he was looking forward to work for the betterment of Indian hockey.

''I will be very happy to provide any assistance to J Carvalho and H S Bangu (Men and women's team coaches respectively). If they want to use my experience I will be availble,'' he said, adding,''India's main concern at present it to qualify for the Beijing Olympics and we are keeping our fingers crossed. Let us hope that both boys and girls qualify for that great sporting event.'' He said he was aware that cricket is a huge game in India and very popular too but said, ''It is much easier in cricket to achieve success then in hockey.'' ''Australia won four cricket World Cup titles between 1987 to 2003 but only one (Men's Hockey) Gold in the Olympic between this period and that shows how tough it is to win in Hockey,'' he said.

Charlesworth said,''I expect to have access to what happens in Indian hockey including team selection, I anticipate I will have to spend a lot of time with coaches at different levels.'' ''My role has essentially three phases,discovery,recommendation and execution.The process covers the mens', womens' and junior games,''he said.

The hockey legend said he was very happy to see 30 to 40 youngsters playing hockey every day at the SAI centre in Bangalore during his stay there,''In Australia, if we got so many boys playing we will be surprised".

International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Els Vanbreda Vriesman, who introduced Charlesworth to mediapersons said the coach is going to be here on a long term basis.

''To begin with, his tenure is going to be of one year, after that we will make assessment whether his presence has made any difference,'' she said.

Intrestingly, Charlesworth has still not signed any contract either with the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC) or the Sports Authority of India (SAI) or the sports ministry. "We are awaiting the contract" said Bob Davidson, marketing manager of the FIH.


Story first published: Saturday, November 10, 2007, 18:04 [IST]
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