Hockey physio John set to join team bench
HI said the Australian needs to be on the team bench in the largest interest of the squad.
London: Pressure from hockey officials eyeing the Olympic squad manager's position notwithstanding, physiologist David John is all set to be a part of the team bench during the Games here.
John's initial nomination as team manager had caused controversy in India as several hockey officials criticised the appointment of a foreigner to that position, prompting Hockey India to amend his status to "stand-in manager."
Hockey team officials Friday said placing exercise physiologist John on the team bench in place of a "decorative" manager is a professional decision in the largest interest of the squad.
They felt the controversy about a foreigner's appointment as manager was just a petty effort by some sports officials, who were angling for the manager's position that would place them in the spotlight.
Team officials, not wanting to be identified, said those opposing John's nomination as team official did not understand the practical aspect of the appointment as it allowed an extra professional on the team bench during the Olympic Games.
The protest within Hockey India's power structure forced the HI to appoint Clarence Lobo, one of the team's coaching staff, as the manager and downgraded John to his assistant's position. But that was just to silence the critics and spike protests.
Come Monday and John would be on the bench in India's opening Olympic match against former champions The Netherlands. He would take that slot as the team manager, but in fact would be assisting chief coach Michael Nobbs, who like John, is an Australian.