COACH UP­SET OVER DE­LAY

Team ‘forced’ to train in Klang as Sea Games venue is not ready

New Straits Times - - Sport -

JUGJET SINGH jug jet@nst.com.my

IN­DOOR women’s hockey coach K. Gobi­nathan is peeved that the fa­cil­i­ties for the Sea Games are yet to be com­pleted, and his charges have to train in Klang in­stead.

Hockey of­fers four gold medals at the Sea Games, with two each in the men’s and women’s field as well as in­door which will be mak­ing its de­but.

“The fa­cil­i­ties at Segam­but are yet to be com­pleted and I was told that the courts will only be ready by the end of June or early July.

“We will not have home ad­van­tage and right now we con­duct our train­ing in Klang,” said Gobi­nathan.

The for­mer in­ter­na­tional is also in the dark over the type of sur­face that will be used.

“I have yet to be in­formed on the type of sur­face. Will it be Parkay floor­ing or a fut­sal car­pet?

“This is driv­ing us to the edge. We need to play and train at the tour­na­ment venue to have an ad­van­tage over other teams,” said Gobi­nathan.

Gobi­nathan’s team won sil­ver in the re­cent Asian In­door tour­na­ment in Doha, where they lost 2-1 to Kaza­khstan in the fi­nal.

The good news is that they beat Thai­land 2-1 in the pool stages.

“We ex­pect the chal­lenge to come from In­done­sia and Thai­land who have been play­ing in­door hockey for many years while we have only formed a side.

“We played on fut­sal car­pet in Doha, and right now we are train­ing on a hard court in Klang as that is the only venue that has side boards.

“How­ever, for the two ses­sions in Klang (morn­ing and evening) we spend about five hours on the road each day trav­el­ling to and fro Bukit Jalil to Klang.

“That’s really tir­ing but we are game, be­cause we want to con­trib­ute gold,” said Gobi­nathan.

The men’s in­door coach is Amin Rahim, a for­mer field in­ter­na­tional, and they, too, look good for a gold.

Eleven teams are ex­pected to play in the men’s and women’s in­door tour­na­ment.

As for the field event, the Malaysian women and men are the rag­ing favourites for the gold medal as well.

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