No official to greet hockey girls home after Kazan win

New Delhi, June 30: The women’s hockey team that returned home early Tuesday after winning the Champions Challenge II tournament was disappointed to see no official to receive them at the Indira Gandhi International airport here.

Coach M.K Kaushik said they were expecting somebody from the official circles to welcome them at the airport on their return from Kazan, Russia.

‘The team reached here early morning. So at least we were expecting some officials to welcome us at the airport. We are not complaining, but somebody could have come with a bouquet or two and wished the girls good luck for their performance,’ Kaushik told IANS.

Hockey India (HI) secretary general Mohammad Aslam said it was decided that the team members would disperse from the airport.

‘The players had not gone home for more than a month as they were training before the tournament. So it was decided that the team would disperse from the airport so that they can go to their home towns. We had arranged for connecting flights from the domestic airport,’ Aslam said.

‘So we thought there was no need for a reception function at the airport, because the players had to immediately leave for their destinations. We thought of arranging a proper felicitation ceremony later,’ he added.

Asked about news channels showing some players taking a cab, Aslam said: ‘We had made proper arrangement for the players. Only two players who were from Hisar had to take some other mode of transport.’

Aslam, who was in Dehradun, added: ‘Had I been in Delhi, I would have definitely received the team. President A.K. Matoo is in Singapore and two other officials had some pressing personal matters to take care of.’

The squad’s departure June 18 from India was also engulfed in a controversy as they had to return from the airport at midnight for not having transit visas to land in Frankfurt, Germany, from where they were to take a connecting flight to Kazan, Russia. The team left the next day.