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Believe, Japan Gets Budget Cut Post Asiad Gold (6/7/2019)
--s2h Team
In 2018 Jakarata Games, when the Indian team were touted to be favourites for the Asian Games Gold medal, Japan sprung a surprise and won the title. They defeated Malaysia to clinch the title and seal a berth for 2020 Olympics, which they are hosting.

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While many would expected the win would give Japan hockey a big boost, rendering more opportunities in terms of sponsors and funds, the picture is contradictory. The team has faced substantial budget cut, post the historic Asian Games victory.

“There has been a substantial budget cut because we are not ranked as a potential medal winner. Next year there will be another budget cut. So, we have to do everything to keep practicing,” says coach Siegfried Aikman.

Until last year, the Japan team had to pay from their pockets to attend the national camp. The trend might have stopped now, as they have a sponsor, but the funds is still insufficient.

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“We don’t ask money from the players anymore because we have sponsor. But the funds is less. We want to ask money from the players so that there is some funds,” he says.

Less funds also make it difficult for the coach to select a better pool of players.

“We have a pool of 33 players. The only problem is I can fill only 22 players because there is no money. So, with 11 I have to swap, which is not good,” Aikman says.

With the team qualifying for the Olympics, the road ahead for the Japan team is not easy.

“We move through negotiations. Whichever country we travel, we request them to bear all costs, so that we only pay for the tickets. That is the way it is and we shouldn’t complain. We have to do well with whatever we have, because hockey should come from the heart,” he concludes.

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