Imphal, Jan 8: In a case of gross negligence, senior India hockey players were forced to live under pathetic conditions in Imphal where they are gathered to participate in the Senior Men's National Championships 2018 (B Division).
As per media reports, the washrooms available had water leakage and some were even choked. Some of the players even complained that there were no beds to sleep and they were forced to sleep on the floor. Because of the non-availability of beds, the players alleged they were forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor.
Manipur: Players arriving in Imphal to participate in 8th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2018 (B Div) complain of inadequate facilities provided to them by the authorities, say they have not been provided with blankets, adequate food or proper toilet facilities. pic.twitter.com/SAFxInhU2D— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2018
The officials of Hockey India woke up from the slumber after the images of the poor facilities provided to the players were highlighted by the media. The players also complained that they have not been provided with blankets. The fact that proper arrangements for blankets were not made are unacceptable for the fact that entire north-eastern region is going through severe cold climatic conditions. This reflects the insensitivity of the organisers.
Hockey India was made aware of the situation three days ago and they sprung into action and sent their CEO Elena Norman to Imphal.
"We have done the assessment and there are some areas of improvement required which is being addressed by the organising committee and state officials. We have been assured that it will be rectified," Norman said to ANI.
Meanwhile, Praveen Singh, Manipur Youth Affairs and Sports Director, said that the players went into wrong rooms and they are comfortable now, having shifted to the rooms that were assigned to them.
"When players arrived, they saw unused areas in the hostel and assumed those are for their use. Things were sorted when they saw the designated rooms. We have provided heaters, blankets, carpets and mattresses. They're comfortable now," Singh said to ANI.
When players arrived they saw unused areas in hostel & assumed those are for their use. Things were sorted when they saw the designated rooms. We have provided heaters, blankets, carpets & mattresses. They're comfortable now: Praveen Singh, Manipur Youth Affairs & Sports Director pic.twitter.com/9A4M3Lt29L— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2018
The matter was brought into the notice of the Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who termed it unacceptable and immediately directed Hockey India officials to take all necessary steps.
"Not an acceptable situation. @TheHockeyIndia please look into this right away. If any financial support is required from @indiasports, we will provide it at the earliest," tweeted Rathore by tagging Hockey India.
"Hockey India is working with the LOC and Manipur Hockey to rectify any shortcomings. We have identified areas that need improvement and are looking at best possible solutions to ensure the participating teams and athletes are comfortable," Hockey India responded.
Officials from Hockey India are also here in Imphal to ensure the tournament progresses smoothly and there have been improvements already. (2/2)— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 7, 2018
We shall share further updates on the matter by tomorrow evening.— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) January 7, 2018
Former India hockey great MK Kaushik was quoted by India Today as saying that the facilities are usually very good for the hockey players but Hockey India need to delve better when it comes to juniors and nationals.
"Now hockey is doing very well and everything is organised well but for the tournaments for kids and upcoming players, they still need to look at the facilities," MK Kaushik was quoted as saying.