May 31, 2011

Azlan Shah report submitted: Fitness under question

Indian team's manager for Sultan Azlan Shah Col. Balbir Singh, team physical trainer Dr. Pradip Dutta and physiotherapist Shrikant Iyenger has pointed out team fitness for the poor show in recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah.

Team manager Balbir Singh's report says, "India was bogged down by inconsistency and very poor fitness levels in comparison to other participating teams. If you play good hockey only for 35 minutes (a full match is 70 minutes), you will surely be punished in a world-class field."
The report also states,"We played well against all the teams but only in the first half. We could not last the full game and conceded a number of goals in the second half due to fatigue and poor clearance. Fitness was a problem... players must be on their toes from the start to the end."

Team's physical trainer Dr. Pradip Dutta has also pointed towards the fitness of the players. His report states, " Improvement in physical fitness is required if they want to dominate the elite teams of the world.The general fitness levels are not an issue. But when it comes to hockey-specific physical fitness, it is where the team is lacking. We need to improve hockey-specific physical fitness in order to cope with the physical and psychological demands of modern-day hockey"

 The players were given nutritional supplements only during the tournaments and not for the training camp. According to the physiotherapist nutritional supplements should be given throughout the year and not only during the tournaments. He also said that appointment of doctor and sports psychologist is urgently required.

The facilities available to the players were also inadequate during the duration of the camp. Team's fitness trainer had to go to Nehru Stadium to collect gym equipments so that the players could train for the tournament. The gap between last tournament and training camp was long which reduced the general level of the players.

The team also faced problems in the medical facilities provided. Team physiotherapist had to double up as team doctor as there was no full time doctor for the team. The team faced inconveniences in getting X-ray, MRI scans and unavailability of specialist for various ailments.

Poor facilities given to the players was one major block in the team attaining full fitness for the tournaments. If the Hockey India officials and Ministry of Sports want results then they have to provide the players with proper facilities. It will be interesting to see, what does Hockey India and MoS make out of this report and what steps will be taken to solve the problems faced by the Indian team.

(News Source: Hindustan Times)

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