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Former Olympian Eliza Nelson speaks for the need of proper counselling in the Women's Hockey Team

Tanuj Kar
592   //    25 Jul 2016, 18:14 IST
Ritu Rani was dropped from the national squad just before the final teams for Rio were announced

Ritu Rani, captain of the Indian Women’s Hockey team was responsible for leading her side to Olympic qualification after a hiatus of thirty-six years. However, merely hours before the final squads for Rio 2016 were to be announced by Hockey India, the Haryana forward was sent home from the national camp by the team management.

It was brought to the fore by team officials that Ritu’s performance levels on the field for the squad had taken a dip in recent times, on top of which a lackadaisical attitude on her part had made things worse. Sources also hinted at her recent engagement with Punjabi singer Harsh Sharma drawing her focus off the sport and leading to the extent where she started skipping training sessions that left the selectors with little choice but to axe her from the Olympic team.

Referring to the whole saga as an unfortunate affair that could have been avoided, former Olympian Eliza Nelson has endorsed the need for proper counselling of the players in the national team for Women’s Hockey. Eliza was a key figure in India’s strikeforce from their maiden Olympic campaign in Moscow 1980 where they had finished fourth.

Also Read: Indian hockey captain Ritu Rani breaks down on national television after Olympics exclusion

Knowing a thing or two about what's required of a representative of India at the ‘greatest show on Earth’, Eliza shared her views with DNA India on the Ritu Rani incident:

There should have been proper counselling for the team. You have a large support staff. It is sad that Ritu has not been selected. I spoke with a few Indian players including captain Sushila Chanu recently and they said that Ritu will be missed. Ritu was a bit distracted. But one has to sacrifice a lot to represent India."

Nelson, while delighted at India’s secured long-awaited Olympic berth this year, is also aware of the massive setback Ritu’s exclusion would have caused to the Indian team, she added:

Before the 1980 Olympics, we had a camp in Pune and my husband was not allowed to meet me. Ritu should have focussed on representing India. Not having Ritu in Rio will be a drawback to the women's team.

The former player still hopes for a good show by the Indian Eves when they take the field in the hockey event at Rio de Janeiro next month.

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