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Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

India hockey players end pre-World Cup strike

Indian hockey player
The players would like a better system of payment and incentives

Striking members of the Indian hockey team have decided to return to a training camp for the World Cup.

Their decision came after hockey authorities decided to settle their demands for wages.

Separately, Indian company Sahara, which is also the official team sponsor, has decided to give $220,000 to the players immediately.

The hockey World Cup begins in the Indian capital, Delhi, on 28 February and lasts a fortnight.

The players had stayed away from the camp since Sunday after a dispute over wages.

Hockey authorities had accused the players of blackmail, and given them an ultimatum to return to the training camp by Thursday.

'Reasonable'

"We have sorted out the problem," Indian sports official Suresh Kalmadi said.

"The players have given us a list of demands, and most of them are reasonable."

Mr Kalmadi said the team would be returning to the training camp on Thursday.

The team's official sponsor Sahara has chipped in with $220,000 for distribution to the players so that they can "peacefully and happily" train and play for their country, a statement released by the company said.

Mr Kalmadi said several other companies had agreed to help the team financially.

Reports say chief minister of India's northern Uttar Pradesh state Mayawati has also offered the team 50 million rupees ($1m).

Earlier, Indian Sports Minister MS Gill appealed to the players to "immediately join training, and continue so, with full heart, till the [World Cup] tournament, and focus to win it".

The team went on an indefinite strike on Sunday despite reports of a truce with the hockey authorities.



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