Rio de Janeiro, (Brazil) Aug 3 : Amid public criticism by the Indian hockey team coach Roelant Oltmans about the lack of facilities and risk of injuries to the players from extended use of bean bags for seating in the Olympic Games Village, the Indian contingent head has sought the help of the Indian Embassy to urgently buy the items from the market.
Oltmans had sought the permission to buy the items that were causing problems for the hockey team since they were not available to the squad inside the Olympic Athletes Village.
The request from Oltmans was made public by Hockey India, hanging the dirty linen out for the public to watch, causing immense embarrassment to contingent officials, who had requested the organisers to provide them.
The lack of preparations within the Olympic Games Village notwithstanding, raising the issue in public also brought into focus the rift within Indian sports officialdom as the players seek to put up a good show in the arena.
The demands of the hockey coach were for adequate television sets for the men and women's hockey teams to watch other teams play, and also for video analysis of their own performance.
This being a routine requirement, the issue was compounded by the lack of chairs for the players for video sessions and team meetings.
"We need proper furniture for all players. Spending too much time in bean-chairs might result in back-injuries to the players," Oltmans said in his letter to the Indian contingent's Chef-de-Mission.
Forced to act urgently on the issue, Indian Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta today said the Olympic organisers had expressed their inability to provide more furniture and television sets.
Gupta said the Indian delegation was trying to procure the items from the market, through the Indian Embassy.
Oltmans' letter brought out the lack of facilities. There were just two chairs available in an apartment being shared by six players. And there were inadequate number of television sets. Gupta today said he had first tried to source the furniture and televisions from the organisers and also tried to buy them from the Olympic Games rate-card, which lists prices of extra items required.
But there were simply no items available, so he had to seek the Indian Embassy's help. "Following a request from our hockey teams to provide them with more chairs and TV sets, I had spoken and also written to the Organising Committee to do so," Gupta said.
In its reply, the Organising Committee's representative said that Rio 2016 was "only providing TVs for the Chef de Mission office and the TV Lounge in the common spaces." Also, the furniture was provided according to the guidelines confirmed and agreed with the International Olympic Committee, the organisers told the Indian delegation.
The Organising Committee reinforced that the same items were provided to each contingent. "Now we have decided to put one TV set on each of the floors and also put additional chairs also. The equipment is expected to be placed in the apartments in the next few days," Gupta said, stressing that all demands from the Indian athletes were being addressed.
"We are trying to make things as comfortable as possible for our athletes, since they are representing our country," Gupta said.