With less than a month to go for the Olympic Games, the Indian Hockey Federation sacked chief coach Rajinder Singh on Monday without assigning any reason.
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A member of India's Moscow Olympics gold medal-winning team and coach of the 2001 junior World Cup-winning team, Rajinder was appointed coach of the senior India team in April 2002 after C R Kumar, in charge of the team after Cedric D'Souza was unceremoniously sacked midway through the 10th senior World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, declined to take up the job.
IHF sources in Germany, where the team is training, said Gerhard Rach of Germany will take over as chief coach with immediate effect.
The sources said the decision to sack Rajinder was taken by IHF president K P S Gill after consultations with the selectors and panel of coaches.
While Rach, who was serving as assistant to Rajinder, has been elevated, Oliver Kurtz, also of Germany, and former Olympian Jagbir Singh will continue as assistant coaches.
The IHF also appointed Hardeep Singh Dhillon as manager of the team and retained Saju Joseph as trainer for the Athens Olympics.
While Jagbir was appointed only early this month in place of junior coach Harinder Singh, who guided India to the junior Asia Cup triumph earlier this year, the Germans were appointed in May.