Athletes, coaches hit out at NIS facilities

Athletes, coaches hit out at NIS facilities

As the Indian contingent departs in batches for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the country’s top sports institute in Patiala has drawn severe flak from athletes and coaches who have left no stone unturned in their preparation despite having to live and train in “unacceptable conditions”.

Ace paddler A Sharath Kamal, who has brought laurels to the country by winning three table tennis gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, called the living conditions at the National Institute of Sports “very unhygienic and unacceptable” for any athlete representing India.

“Playing conditions are okay but staying in NIS is a nightmare. I don’t have to be in Patiala for long as I am in Germany for major part of the year but I feel bad for other athletes who live here for a long time,” Sharath said.

“The rooms are in bad shape, the common bathrooms are full of filth and the air conditioners in the rooms are hardly effective in this heat. We are not asking for something fancy but we need to be provided normal conditions before you expect us to be the best in our sport,” said the World No 44, who trained with the rest of the squad in Patiala for two weeks ahead of the mega event.

Sharath revealed that condition of the room given to him was so bad that he ended up sleeping in the dedicated apartment of foreign coach Peter Engel.

“Thankfully, our coach was happy to help,” quipped the double gold-medallist of the 2006 Melbourne Games.

A foreign coach stationed said: “If NIS is seen as country’s top sports institute, then god save Indian sport.”

SS Roy, regional director at NIS, admitted that part of the athletes accommodation was old and needed renovation. 

“The Dhyan Chand block was built in the 1980s and it surely needs to be refurbished. The work has already started and we have decided to do away with common bathrooms and construct attached bathrooms in the 350 odd rooms there. The work should be complete in six  months,” said Roy. 

“As far as the food is concerned, we have called a chef from the Oberoi group of hotels. We hope the players find the food better when they are back from the Commonwealth Games,” Roy added.

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