Indian National Men’s Hockey Team is camping at SAI (South) Centre, Bangalore for the preparation of the upcoming important tournaments which includes FIH’s annual prestigious tournament (Champions Trophy 2011), to be held at Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium, Delhi and London 2012 Olympic Qualifiers to be played in February, 2012. India will also be playing inaugural edition of Asian Championship Trophy and will visit Australia for a 9-a-side tournament by Hockey Australia (International Super Series). Players are slowly getting into rhythm through the monitoring and light warm-up sessions with the coaches Mohd Riaz and BJ Cariappa, while the newly appointed Chief Coach, Michael Nobbs, is expected to join the camp soon. On the other hand, SAI officials have left no stone unturned to hand over best possible surface for the camp.
The SAI official are doing their best to prepare the surface to run the camp which has more than 90 campers. The Chief Coach of Hockey at SAI South Centre, C A Dhanaraj who is also looking after the turf cleaning and preparations, told, “This ground of the centre was the first astro-turf ground in southern part of India, which was installed in 1980s. The first surface lasted for more then a decade, and the current surface is the third one, which is make of Polytan.” He also told, “Many of the current campers and team members like Arjun Halappa, Bharat Chettri, V R Raghunath, Vikramkanth and former stars like Lehnn Aiyappa are the products of this centre of SAI”
It is good to know that Indian star goalie Baljit Singh (who injured his eye in 2009 during national camp at pune while practicing with golf ball) is back in the action at top level. He was adjudged best goalie in recently concluded 65th Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup 2011, where his side IOC were the champions. But, India’s star forward Shivendra Singh and the pillar of Mid-Field Bharat Chhikara will be missing the first phase of the camp due injuries. Shivendra got injured during the semi-finals of the National Championships 2011 while Bharat is on rehabilitation since Asian Games 2010, where he got injured. Both of them are expected to join the camp in August.