SAI’s regional director, Radhika Sreeman, however, maintained that Batra was “reacting like a child”. “It is very foolish of him (Batra). To link that (security officer episode) to the non-approval of this (air fares non clearance) is completely ridiculous.” She said that the security person was deployed by a security agency. “He is not even our employee,” Sreeman added.
She explained that Batra was present along with other sports federations at the time of budget allocation. “Initially, HI was allocated a budget of around Rs five crores, but when Batra said it was not enough, SAI increased to 11 plus crores- almost double. During the time, Batra even said that HI would take care of Azlan Shah Cup and other tournaments,” Sreeman informed.
Expressing his bitterness with SAI, Batra said: “Hockey India had proposed a budget of Rs 25 crores for the 2012-2013. We are not aware of what happens in their files.” Reacting to this statement, Sreeman said: “Hockey India can ask for the moon, but that does not mean they will get it.”
On similar lines, Anupam Gulati, respected hockey expert, said, “You give your budget – does not mean that it is always accepted. As far as my knowledge goes, HI must have exceeded the limit so SAI must have rejected.”
Whatever the truth, the good sign, however, is that the Indian team will participate in the Azlan Shah Cup, starting next month in Malaysia. “Their non participation would have meant that the FIH would have imposed a penalty because the organisers have made all the arrangements like hotel booking for the participating teams. Teams, which back out in the 11th hour are slapped fine.”
The Indian team for the 2013 Azlan Shah Cup would comprises a number of youngsters along with some known Indian players. India has a good record in the tournament winning the title five times in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and 2010.
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