Rio 2016: No chairs, tables or TV sets, Indian hockey contingent struggles for basic facilities in Games Village
With merely a few days left for the commencement of the Rio Olympics in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro, the Indian national men’s and women’s hockey team are facing difficulties in availing basic facilities like tables, chairs and televisions.
While on one hand, the athletes and coaches are practising hard to ensure they perform their best in the world’s biggest sporting event, Indian hockey team’s coach Roelant Oltmans is struggling for the basic needs of his team.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Oltmans wrote a letter to Rakesh Gupta, Chef de Mission of the India’s contingent for Rio Olympics, complaining of the scarcity of chairs and television sets at the Games Village and the players’ apartments not being fully furnished.
When no action was taken even a day after the complaint, Hockey India president Narinder Batra took to social media and posted photos of team players struggling for basic needs at the Games Village and alleged that “you do not believe in acknowledging or replying to mails from Hockey India.”
In the pictures shared by Batra on social media, Indian national hockey team players can be seen lying on bean bags in the apartments which are empty with no basic furniture like tables and chairs.
“Dear 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? (sic),” The Indian Express quoted Batra’s post.
Oltmans, in his letter, had complained that sitting on bean bags will certainly lead to long-term injuries.
"In the staff apartments we've managed to bring in some tables. You mentioned there is no possibility to arrange by the International Olympic Association (IOA)/Brasilian organisers. So we need permission to purchase chairs from the outside market to avoid injuries during the Olympics," said Oltmans.
“Apart from 2 chairs and the 4 bean-seaters, there is nothing in the living room, nothing to hang clothes also,” Oltmans had written to Batra.
According to Otlman’s complaint, only two chairs are provided in each apartment which is shared by teammates. He has requested 28 chairs and “at least one table” for the seven apartments.
“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 three 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,” he complained.
He also asked the Chef de Mission for the permission to purchase three more TV sets so that the players could regularly follow and analyse each game.
On the other hand, Batra said that he is sharing the photos and videos on social media because Chef de Mission Gupta and IOA have not acknowledged or replied to mails from Hockey India.