Hockey India president, Narinder Batra, has asked the Team India performance director, Roelant Oltmans, to go ahead and purchase necessary furniture for the team currently being forced to sleep on bean bags in their accommodation in Rio.
While writing to Oltmans, Batra also hit out at Indian Chef de Mission to Rio Olympics, Rakesh Gupta. He told Oltmans to not waste time on ‘on hockey requirements with Chef De Mission of India since he will only delay and tell sweet stories.”
Batra wrote, “Dear Roelant, Ok pl go ahead and purchase, hockey India will cover the entire cost of INR 1,38,000/- apxx… Further no need to waste time on hockey requirements with Chef De Missionof India since he will only delay and tell sweet stories and we cannot allow hockey to suffer for his incompetency. You can call me or Elena anytime…
“Good Luck Teams India and all the very best Neil and Roelant…(sic)”
On 1 August Oltmans wrote a letter to Gupta, to complain about unfurnished accommodation provided to both the men’s and women’s hockey teams.
A day later the Hockey India Hockey India president Narinder Batra took to social media to highlight the urgency of the problem.
Batra’s Facebook post said, ” Mr President IOA and Chef De Mission Indian Contingent… Have You all and IOA Staff who have gone to Rio, are on some kind of a Paid Holiday?… Please sort out the problems Indian Men and Women Hockey Teams on URGENT Basis, I certainly hope you want Indian Teams to do well…
“I am putting this on social media since both of You do not believe in acknowledging or replying to mails from Hockey India.”
In His Facebook post, Batra also mentioned part of Oltman’s letter, which read, “Hanging in these Bean-seats will lead to Injuries on the long-term. Apart from 2 Chairs and the 4 Bean-Seaters, there is nothing in the living room, Nothing to hang clothes also. Kind regards. Roelant”…
In a letter to Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent Rakesh Gupta, Oltmans had complained about unfurnished accommodation provided to both the men’s and women’s hockey teams.
“For athletes who have to perform at top-level during a longer period of the Olympics we need proper chairs and tables in the apartments for 6 persons. Actually there are only 2 chairs in each apartment.
“For men and women we are using 9 apartments so there is a lack of 28 proper chairs and for 7 Apartments we need at least one table as well. In the staff apartments we’ve managed to bring in some tables,” he said.
“During the Olympics we would like to give our players the possibility to watch the matches of our competitors live on TV. This will help the players to prepare themselves for the upcoming matches against these opponents.”
In another letter, Oltmans asked for Chef de Mission’s permission to purchase TV sets for the hockey teams.
“Thank you very much to offer your TV to our team to be able to watch the hockey matches during the Olympic Games. I’ve tried to rent more TV’s but unfortunately they are sold out in the Village.
“I would like to get permission to purchase 3 TVs to be able to follow the hockey competition in both the staff rooms and at least in one of the male and female Apartments,” the Dutchman wrote.
“I also tried to rent more chairs but at this moment there are no chairs available in the Village. We’re pleased you’ve given us some chairs but in the end we need proper furniture for all the players. Spending too much time in bean chairs might occur back injuries for the players.
“Please help us to find a solution. We all want our hockey teams to perform well but we need to support them as well with the right conditions,” Oltmans concluded.
The Rio Games organisers have already faced complaints from Australia and several other teams about unfinished rooms at the Olympic Village. A few days ago, the Australian team had to be evacuated from their building at the Olympic Village because of a fire in the basement.