By Duncan Mackay

January 13 -  India's hockey players today ended a a week-long strike and agreed to resume training for the World Cup starting in New Delhi  next month after Suresh Kalmadi (pictured) stepped in to settle a pay dispute and the sponsors agreed to pay their demands.

It followed the intervention of Kalmadi, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who travelled to Pune to meet the players.

He said: "The camp will start again from Thursday.

"The crisis is over.

"Hockey is our national game, it cannot be a national shame.

"I am grateful for everyone who came forward to resolve the crisis."

Kalmadi said the 22-man squad's demand of 450,000 rupees (£6,000) each for outstanding dues and performance-related bonuses, besides graded contracts, had been accepted.

He said: "We will immediately distribute around 10 million rupees (£123,000) to settle the players' dues.

"The graded contracts will be done after the Hockey India elections on February 7."

Team India sponsors Sahara had released an ad hoc amount of 10 million rupees to tide over the crisis.

Sahara's move followed an appeal to the players by Federal Sports Minister M.S Gill to resume training, with a promise to look into their grievances.

He said: "I wish to appeal to the players to immediately join training and focus on winning the tournament.

"I am clear that after the tournament I will do everything possible to give the players a fair deal."

Deepak Thakur, a senior member of the squad, confirmed the players will resume their World Cup preparations from tomorrow.

He said: "Mr. Kalmadi has assured us that all our demands will be met and we are taking his word for it
"We have been told that our dues will be settled immediately and issues like graded contracts will be done after the elections -- but before the World Cup."

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