Barely a month left for the Asian Games, Hockey India High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans has written to the Sports Authority of India about the artificial turfs at NIS Patiala being in a "dangerous" condition and will effect the preparation of the women's team for the mega event in South Korea.
In a letter dated August 16, 2014, Oltmans said that the senior women's team coach Neil Hawgood had made a request to shift the training from NIS to another location in view of the poor condition of the pitch.
"Last week I received the request from Mr Neil Hawgood, Head Coach of the Senior Women team to move to another training location. The pitch in Patiala is dangerous, not well maintained which will effect the preparation of the women's team for the Asian Games," Oltmans wrote in the letter.
He further wrote in the letter that besides NIS Patiala, the other turfs in Bhopal and Bangalore SAI centres were also in a poor condition and not suitable for training of national teams. Oltmans said only the turf in New Delhi was good enough for training, though the capital city has other issues.
"We left the training center in Bangalore more than one year ago and still no action for replacement of the turfs has taken place. In November 2013, Mr Rocky Diaz at that time Regional Director in Bhopal has submitted a request to replace an artificial turf at the SAI centre in Bhopal.
"We all would like to see more improvement in the performance of the national teams. To achieve this, basic facilities should be at the same level as the facilities of our competitors or even better.
"Actually, the only center where the turf is sufficient is Delhi, but it has other difficulties. In the women sector we are not able to train both seniors and juniors at the same location. It is highly recommended from my side to discuss this issue in the interest of performance improvement of your national game," Oltmans said in a letter.
HI Secretary General Narinder Batra said that the turfs at Patiala and Bangalore were required to be replaced in 2012 while the one in Bhopal should have been done in 2013.
"Till date SAI and GOI MYAS officials are sleeping over it," Batra said. He was critical of Delhi being used as the only venue for men team's training in recent times.
"The men's team is in Delhi practicing in 45?C and in Delhi, the team wastes upto 3 to 4 hours everyday on travelling by bus from place of stay to stadium and from place of stay to swimming pool. In all other centers, everything is centralised.
"Only one venue now available in whole of India for both men and women to train and practice for tournaments and international events in India is only, only, only Delhi," he added.