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Dhanraj not ready to quit

Source: PTI
August 27, 2004 17:54 IST
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Veteran Indian hockey ace Dhanraj Pillay has no plans to hang his boots, though he concedes the Athens Games are his last Olympics.

"It's not my last international participation," the former India skipper said during a brief appearance following India's 5-2 victory over South Korea that fetched the team the seventh position in the Games' men's hockey tournament.

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Pillay's comments contradicted India's coach Gerhard Rach's statement to the media that the mercurial player would call it a day after the Olympics.

The 36-year-old veteran of four Olympics, however, was quick to add: "This is my last appearance in an Olympic Games."

Pillay, who has drawn the ire of the team management for criticizing team coach Gerhard Rach's tactics in his newspaper column, played for only the last 11 minutes in India's concluding engagement, coming in place of the injured Viren Rasquinha.

Regretting not being able to finish on the podium, he said, "I wanted to finish with a medal. I wanted us to have done better in this tournament. But we played badly in the tournament and didn't make it."

Rach said he was happy that India at least finished the event on a winning note.

"I told my players that we should finish this tournament with a victory because the last impression is very important."

Praising the younger players, the German said, "The youngest players did what we told them all the time – good passing, good dribbling."

Skipper Dilip Tirkey, who was among the few Indian players to come out of the tournament with reputation intact, said that the difference today was that the Indians kept possession of the ball for longer periods of time.

"It was a good match. This time we kept possession of the ball. (But) In the second half we were tired and we let Korea score two goals."

Referring to India's weaknesses, he said, "In future we will see our mistakes and improve them back home."

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