Bhubaneswar: A day after a top Hockey India official was slammed on social media for ‘yelling’ at the Indian players for entering the VIP lounge at Kalinga Stadium in Odisha capital, India captain Manpreet Singh tried to kill the controversy, saying “it was our mistake”.
“It was our mistake. Players were not allowed to enter the lounge. I think it has been blown out of proportion,” said Manpreet while addressing a press meet here on Wednesday afternoon trying to play down the issue.
When asked if he is under any pressure, he said: “I am under no pressure.” “I didn’t even remember exactly what happened that evening until I started receiving messages on my phone. There is no pressure on me to say anything”.
Urging people not to post on social media anything without knowing the exact fact, Manpreet said, “The matter was blown out of proportion by some people on social media.”
According to media reports, four Indian team players – captain Manpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh and Krishan Pathak – who were watching the crossover games (Belgium vs Pakistan and Netherlands vs Canada) from West Stand VIP enclosure were rudely behaved by Hockey India’s CEO Elena Norman.
Seeing the players inside the VIP lounge, Norman, an Australian citizen, berated them saying, “Get out from here. How dare you come here? Now just shut up and get out,” the media reports added.
Leo Devadoss, a freelance sports writer and an eyewitness had posted about the incident on his Facebook post, which later went viral drawing flak from various quarters.
When contacted, Norman said: “I have no comment to offer.”
Hockey India too refuted the allegations, saying they had no knowledge of the incident.
When Hockey India Coach Harendra Singh was asked by reporters to comment on the matter, he said: “I told my players on the first day to create a circle and keep only things inside which are in your control. Throw everything else outside the circle.”
Worth mentioning here that Team India will face three-time champions the Netherlands in the quarterfinal clash on Thursday.