BHOPAL: The man who scored the decisive goal in the 1975 Hockey World Cup final against arch-rivals Pakistan to give India their only win at the event to date resigned as technical advisor and chief coach of the Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy in Bhopal on Wednesday.
Ashok Kumar Dhyanchand, former India captain and striker, told Express he was asked to resign by top bosses of the state sports directorate on Tuesday. This due to non-performance of the state’s teams at national tournaments.
The 68-year-old was told to quit at a meeting with top mandarins, including director (sports) Upendra Jain in Bhopal. MP had ended third at the recent sub-junior national boys’ championship in Bengaluru.
“I was first asked which all teams we played, and how many games we won. I told them we won six, before losing the semifinals. I thought we’d be hailed, as we’d performed dismally in 2016. But to my utter surprise, I was asked to resign over bad performance of our teams,” said an emotional Kumar, who has been in his dual post since 2007.
While senior officials at the MP sports directorate and the state’s hockey academy were unavailable for comment, informed sources in the former said Kumar, son of the legendary Major Dhyan Chand, was asked to step down in the wake of dismal performances by state teams at the junior nationals (Men) held in Bhopal last month.
Kumar’s resignation, which has been accepted, is likely to have a debilitating effect on the morale of the senior men’s team that is training for the senior nationals, slated in Lucknow from June 15. “I don’t think it has to do with performances. Had it been the only parameter, then the sub-junior boys’ bronze medal finish in Bengaluru should also have been taken into account. It’s something else,” felt Kumar.