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Junior hockey coach Gregg Clark steps down

Tuesday, 1 April 2014 - 8:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Hockey India (HI) will have to look for a new head coach for the national junior team.

South Africa's Gregg Clark, who was appointed as the junior team chief coach in April 2013, will not continue with the team anymore. Clark was initially roped in for one year with his contract being subject to renewal. However, Clark has decided not to carry on.

"Clark has decided to give up the role due to personal reasons," HI secretary general Narinder Batra told dna on Monday. "He could not stay away from his family for long, so he opted to go back home."
Batra said HI will appoint a new head coach "within 10-12 days" before the national junior camp begins.

Asked if the new coach will be a foreigner again, Batra said, "We will see. We're looking at all options. The process has already started."

However, sources said Baljit Singh Saini, who is the coach of the team along with BJ Kariappa, might be asked to take over at least for the time being. "Baljit is the most natural choice for now. He has been with the squad for quite a while and knows the players well," an official said on condition of anonymity.

Under Clark, India, as hosts, finished a disappointing 10th in the Junior World Cup last December. The South African was appointed specifically keeping in mind the World Cup, and despite building a winning momentum after clinching the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia in September, the team failed to deliver when it mattered the most.

HI willing to give undertaking on Harbir issue
Meanwhile, Batra said HI is willing to give an undertaking to the organisers of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games on the issue of Harbir Singh Sandhu's visa rejection.

"His visa papers had some problems in 2008-09, and we didn't know he was denied visa for the 2012 London Olympics as that was completely handled by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). He was only 18 in 2008, and it seems like it was an honest mistake. HI is ready to give an undertaking or whatever it takes to remove this black mark from his name," Batra said.

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