Chief coach of the Indian menâ€™s Hockey team Harendra Singh has complained to the governing body about the poor standards of food and hygiene at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) center in Bengaluru, where the national team is currently training in preparation for the upcoming Champions Trophy.
"The food quality at Bangalore SAI center has been well below par for a professional unit. There is excessive oil and fat throughout, bones without hardly any meat. In some cases, players and staff have found insects, bugs, and hair in food. Also, hygiene has been neglected," Harendra wrote in a letter to the Hockey India top officials.
â€śThe 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 consist of entire nutrition. Recently, we conducted blood tests on all 48 athletes and the blood reports found many food-related deficiencies in some athletes which acts as a hindrance to perform at the optimum level,â€ť he added.
The chief coach wrote that the quality of food despite Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathoreâ€™s instructions to the SAI during a visit he had made before the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, has been sub-standard. â€śBefore the CWG, during one of the camps, Honâ€™ble Sports Minister had visited the camps and had given instructions to the competent authority that within 48 hours these complaints must be addressed but no change is visible,â€ť Harendra wrote.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra following the message, immediately wrote to SAI Director General Neelam Kapur, urging her to seriously look into the matter. "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 a couple of months now, I humbly request SAI to kindly take care of food quality, hygiene, cleanness, etc., at SAI centre Bangalore in the 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,â€ť he added.
India will play at the Champions Trophy to be held in Breda, Netherlands, from June 23 to July 1.