Indian men’s hockey team coach, Harendra Singh, in the spotlight recently as he complained to Hockey India about the poor quality of the food and cleanliness at Sports Authoirty of India’s Bengaluru centre, where the national team has begun ideal preparations for the upcoming Champions Trophy. “The food quality has been below par. Insects and hair were also found in the food.” Singh added.
India’s national sport is Hockey and when the quality of food is below par, things should not be taken lightly as this is a very serious matter. The Indian men’s team emerged out as ‘invincibles’ in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row. In total, the Blues have won eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals in Olympics.
After the team coach claimed that Indian hockey team are being fed substandard quality of food, the Hockey India President Rajinder Singh said that it was a serious issue and can’t be taken lightly. “This is really serious and we cannot take it lightly. If any athlete gets sick, who’ll be responsible? That’s why we have planned to hold a meeting and we’ve asked the ministry for time,” he added.
IOA treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey added, “Players representing India should be given proper diet. If coach has raised such issues, it must be solved. If proper food isn’t given to sportpersons it affects their performances.”
Having received a serious complaint regarding the quality of food, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra, who was the former Hockey India chief and current President of International Hockey Federation (FIH) wrote to the Sports Ministry to sort out the problem.
I would like to bring to your kind notice that food quality at Bangalore SAI centre has been well below par with a professional unit – excessive oil and fat through out, bones with lack of meats. Moreover insects, bugs and hair were also found in the food. Sir, I also would like to inform you that hygiene part has also been neglected.
The kitchen utensils which are used to prepare food are unhealthy. We are preparing for the upcoming Champions Trophy, Asian Games and World Cup. It is vital for these high performance athletes to have meals which consists of entire nutrition.
Recently we conducted blood tests on all 48 athletes and the blood report found many food related deficiencies in some athletes which act as a hindrance to perform at the optimum level.
Before the CWG, during one of the camps, Hon’ble Sports Minister had visited the camps and had given instructions to competent authority that within 48 hours these complaints must be addressed but no change is visible.
After being informed by Hockey India, the IOA asked Sports Authority of India to address the issue as soon as possible.
IOA President Batra quickly wrote to SAI Director General Neelam Kapur, urging her to look into the matter seriously.
“The Hon’ble Minister had visited SAI centre Bangalore couple of months back and he is aware of this situation concerning the athletes and their food issue, hygiene issues etc,” Batra wrote.
“It is couple of months now, I humbly request SAI to kindly take care of food quality, hygiene, cleanness etc at SAI centre Bangalore in interest of health and performance of elite athletes. If we expect elite athletes to perform at their best, then we also need to provide them with the best.”
The IOA chief is all set to meet SAI DG to discuss the matter. “Kindly give time to discuss on these issues since it is a problem across all centres of SAI,” Batra wrote. India will gear up for the upcoming Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Breda, Netherlands from June 23 to July 1.