In order to weed out the overage problem, Hockey India has suspended the boys’ under-18 National coaching camp at Bhopal after 50 out of the 55 probables were found overage.
The short-listed players were to undergo two phases of training before the selection of the Indian team for the junior Asia Cup at Yangon, Myanmar, in November.
These boys were picked from various academies like the Panposh Sports Hostel (Rourkela), Chandigarh Hockey Academy, Punjab Sports Department, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Vivek Academy (Varanasi), Amritsar Hockey Academy, Manipur Academy, Mumbai, Pune, SAIL, sports hostels of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and some SAI Centres.
The overage players, who had submitted their birth certificates, were caught after all the boys were put through a medical test on the first day of the camp.
“A top doctor of Bhopal conducted the test and nobody has contested the decision,” a Hockey India spokesman told The Hindu on Tuesday.
“Though this is a setback for the camp, we wanted to send a strong message that such things would not be tolerated. We will also take action against the academies,” he said.
Hockey India has invited fresh and “eligible” names to resume the camp.
Chief selector Ajitpal Singh welcomed the step and said this would strengthen the senior team. “The senior team was suffering because of the overage problem. These players used to play at the junior level and retire as juniors. This was hampering the chance of genuine players and ultimately the senior team was suffering without the inflow of younger players,” the World Cup winning captain argued.
“Medical test was the best way to go about it and this is the best possible time to do it,” Ajitpal said.
Hockey India has assured that efforts are being made to resume the camp within 10 days.