Hockey India described the government’s decision to exclude its four key support staff, including a coach, from the Asian Games-bound contingent as distraction, leaving its high performance director Roelant Oltmans in a state of shock.
India’s national game also had to face the brunt of the government’s decision to prune down the Indian contingent for the Incheon Asian Games to 679 from 942 after men’s team coach Jude Felix and scientific advisor Matthew David Eyles, and women’s side physiotherapist Gaurav Mehra and video analyst Amutha Prakash were not cleared for the September 19 to October 4 quadrennial event.
Even though the move didn’t go down well with Oltmans, he said both the men’s and women’s teams are focussed to deliver the goods despite the absence of the specialists.
“I am shocked. In 30 years of my professional career, I haven’t encountered such a scenario. It is impossible to manage a team without people in specific roles,” Oltmans said on the sidelines of sending-off ceremony for the teams held at HI secretary Narinder Batra’s residence.
“We were supposed to leave tomorrow but we still don’t know when we are flying because we haven’t got our tickets yet. These are all distracting us and throwing our plans haywire.
“Our main focus now is to stay away from all these distractions and make sure that we perform to the level which we are capable of and if we do so, we have a fair chance,” the Dutchman said.
Indian men’s team’s chief coach Terry Walsh is also “disturbed” and “surprised” by the last-minute problems.
“I just heard about some of these possible issues. Seems somewhat far-fetched to me. I can’t control any of that so leave it to the people who can,” he said.
“Well this makes me really disturbed. We still don’t know as to which day we leave and it is really important, that’s actually is quite critical. It’s another of those issues which we can’t control but we are working around. It is somewhat surprising that these things are happening at this stage of preparation,” Walsh said.
“We have got plans but things get changed. We don’t get too bothered by it we just have to deal with the situation put in front of us.”