Harendra complains about SAI food, Batra writes to DG

Harendra complains about SAI food, Batra writes to DG

Harendra Singh

India’s hockey coach Harendra Singh has complained about the poor quality and unhygienic food served at the Bengaluru’s Sports Authority of India centre, where the men’s national camp is underway.

The men’s team chief coach claimed there were ‘insects and bugs’ in the food and asked for an immediate intervention in the matter. Harendra has written to Hockey India president Rajinder Singh who in turn has brought the issue to the notice of Indian Olympic Association of India (IOA) president Narinder Batra. The IOA chief on Monday sent a mail to SAI director general Neelam Kapoor to bring the matter to her notice. He said such problems exist in SAI centres 'across the country.'

Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had visited the SAI centre in Bengaluru in March and had slammed the facilities on offer. Batra and Harendra claimed that despite the minister’s instructions things have not improved.

“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 in his letter to Neelam Kapoor.

“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.”

Harendra on June 9 had written: "Food quality at Bangalore SAI centre has been well below par." He complained of "excessive oil and fat" besides "bone with lack of meat". In some cases, "insect, bugs and hair were found in food," he alleged.

He said cleanness and hygiene part have been neglected. "The kitchen utensils which are used to prepare food are unhealthy. Before the CWG, during one of the camps, Hon'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," Harendra wrote.

"It is vital for these high-performance athletes to have nutritious meals. Recently we conducted blood tests on all 48 athletes and many reports were found to have food-related deficiencies. 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."

The hockey team is preparing for the Champions Trophy, which begins on June 23 at Breda, the Netherlands.