Crucial final leg kicks off

Hockey National camp

Limbering up: Bharat Chettri (left) and Sandeep Singh during a training session at SAI on Monday. DH PhotoThe second phase of the National hockey probables’ camp kicked off here at the Sports Authority of India campus on Monday, a crucial one that will help determine the backbone of India’s Olympic qualification squad.

Forty-six players -- some of whom checked in only late on Sunday night -- reported for training in the morning when they were tested for speed and endurance over 10, 20 and 30 metres.

The players went through routine drills in the afternoon before engaging themselves in a practice match later in the evening to round off the day’s proceedings.

Chief coach Michael Nobbs, busy wrapping up his contract signing in New Delhi, joined the campers late in the night while camp chief co-ordinator and assistant coach SS Grewal arrived in the afternoon.

Interestingly, four ‘rebel’players turned up, putting all speculation regarding their participation to rest by sweating it with the rest of the probables. A fifth player, Prabhjot Singh, has sought permission to join a day later. He was scheduled to check in late on Monday and is expected to resume training on Tuesday.

The quintet of Arjun Halappa, Adrian D’Souza, Prabhjot, Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh -- who were served with show-cause notices for walking out of the first phase – had skipped a disciplinary panel hearing with Disciplinary Committee chairman Pargat Singh on Sunday.

While Sandeep, Sardar and Adrian went through the paces with the rest of the probables, the injured Halappa attended only the morning session.

“Four players are here and they are practising,”said Grewal when asked if Hockey India had scratched them for the second phase. “Prabhjot has informed me that he will start training on Tuesday. I am hopeful the issue will be sorted out in the coming days.”

Grewal also revealed that Hockey India selectors are scheduled to arrive on August 12 and would be conducting two-day trials to pick the squad for the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy. “The trials are expected to be held on August 13 and 14 as the team list needs to be sent to the Chinese organisers by August 17. The trials need to be held at MEG as it is not possible to test a player’s skills at this ground (SAI).

“I’m going to have a chat with Nobbs on having regular sessions at MEG where we can train to the optimum. We need to have all-out sessions in the next 20 days and it is possible only at MEG.”

The coach also said exercise physiologist David John has already mailed the 20-day training schedule for all players and upcoming sessions will be a balance of fitness exercises and skill-based training.

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