Even before the Rio Games have begun, the India men and women’s hockey teams have run into roadblocks. While most athletes and their coaches are working to ensure they take all measures necessary to perform at the highest level, India’s high performance director, Roelant Oltman, is fighting for something more basic.
Tables, chairs, and televisions for his players.
In a mail to Rakesh Gupta, the chef de mission of the Indian contingent in Rio, Oltmans has complained that “the apartments of the Rio Olympics are not furnished properly”.
With teammates sharing living quarters, Oltmans said they require “proper chairs and tables in the apartments for six persons”, while only two chairs are provided in each.
In total, Oltmans has requested 28 chairs and “at least one table” for the seven apartments.
From what can be inferred from the mail trail between the coach and the official, Oltmans was asking if the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or the Brazilian organisers could arrange for the furniture, but he was told that it was not possible.
Oltmans is now awaiting permission to “purchase chairs from the outside market to avoid injuries”.
The teams also require at least three televsions so players can watch and analyse the videos of their opponents.
In a sperate mail on August 1, Oltmans had written (sic): “Thank you very much to offer your TV to our team to be able to watch the Hockey matches during the Olympic Games. As we discussed 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 TV’s to be able to follow the Hockey Competition in both the Staff Rooms and at least in one of the male and Female Apartments.”
Further highlighting the poor state of preparation and lack of support from the IOA or the sports ministry, it looks like players have been making do with bean bags so far, which are not good for the back.
“I also tried to rent more Chairs but at this moment there are no Chairs available in the Village,” wrote Oltmans in his mail. “Tuesday morning here might be a little chance but most likely there will be no Chairs. 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 Player (sic).”