Gloves Off

Kaushik signs off on a high

The triumphant Asian Games campaign was the perfect note for Maharaj Krishan Kaushik to end his association with the senior men's team.

 |  Gloves Off  |  3-minute read |   04-10-2014
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From being an Olympic gold medallist and celebrated coach to being accused of sexual harassment, Maharaj Krishan Kaushik has been through all the highs and lows in hockey. The triumphant Asian Games campaign was the perfect note for Kaushik to end his association with the senior men's team.

Kaushik, who came to Incheon designated as manager, has been appointed central zone's high performance director, sources in Hockey India told MAIL TODAY. The federation already has two high performance directors for the north and south zones in SS Grewal and Vasudevan Baskaran. Hockey India had initially approached Ashok Kumar for identifying talent and focusing on the grassroots in the central zone, but the son of the legendary Dhyan Chand turned down the offer.

Kaushik was not willing to divulge too much about his new role but shared his thoughts on his 'exciting' stint with the men's team. He has been instrumental in India winning two of their three Asian Games gold medals, after being chief coach at Bangkok 1998. The latest stint was the best possible way for him to return to national consciousness after being hounded out of the job of women's team coach due to accusations of sexually harassing a player.

He was later exonerated. Kaushik had guided the women's team to a gold medal at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. A gold medallist at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Kaushik knows there is a lot of work to be done if India is to make a mark at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. "Let's not get carried away, there is still scope for improvement. Our forwards have again not scored goals and without being critical, let me say that we have our task cut out," said Kaushik.

The history of foreign coaches associated with the Indian team has been a dubious one. Kaushik says it is very important to give them a free hand. "There is a lot of pressure on them to deliver and we need to understand that unless they are given the best inputs, results will not come," he said.

Even in Incheon, there were rumours that if the team failed to win gold, the Sports Authority of India and the government would ask for the heads of chief coach Terry Walsh and high performance director Roelant Oltmans. The Indian team now has close to two years to prepare for the Rio Games.

There is a virtual war going on between the government and Hockey India with emails flying on camps being cancelled. The government is the biggest stakeholder in Indian hockey and they need to understand that the Walsh and Oltmans need to be given full freedom to chart the course for the Rio Olympics.


S Kannan S Kannan @kannandelhi

Sports columnist.

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