8th India Hockey Senior Men’s National Championship (B-Division) is being held at Imphal from January 7th. The championship came into headlines for poor living conditions for participants at the hostel where the teams are being put up.
The teams who arrived complained of inadequate facilities and complained of not being provided with basic necessities such as beds, blankets, proper food or any hygienic toilet facility. Players were seen sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Bathrooms had leakage and were drowned in water.
It was the responsibility of sports authorities of Imphal to look towards these needs prior to event.The cold weather, accompanied with the lack of thick blankets or no hot water is has resulted in players falling sick. Some of the players underlined their previous experiences of Nationals were they had all the facilities. Some stressed on the fact that their performance levels were bound to fall under such circumstances and urged the authorities to make things better as soon as possible.
It is then that Hockey India came to know about the facilities. Hockey India CEO Elena Norman looked into the matter and assured that the authorities will rectify the problems.
“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,” Elena said.
Elena also said that a lot of work has already been done and facilities are much better than before.
Manipur Youth Affairs and Sports Director, Praveen Singh stated that it was a confusion and the issue has been sorted. He said players are in a much more comfortable position now than before as hostels are equipped with all the facilities.
Since then, it has been reported that the players have been provided with all the necessary amenities that are required to improve the dismal conditions such as thick blankets, hot water, two mattresses to each player, and also decent food.
Akshay, a player from Delhi told ANI, “Now everything seems alright. When we arrived there were fewer numbers of mattresses, now they have carpeted the floor and extra mattresses and blankets have been provided. There are geysers and room heaters as well and mineral water is there for drinking. Now the facilities being provided are satisfactory”.
Norman also commented on the matter after having kept her promise and said, “The state association and the state government have worked very hard to address some of the concerns of the players. I believe now that the players are quite satisfied with what is being provided to them. I hope if anything else that comes up, they will address that to us directly and we will help them to rectify it.”
He added that the Manipur Hockey authority is taking good care in terms of sanitation and food is also freshly served
Nationals are very important for the selection process and most senior players play in B division. It is up to the authorities to arrange everything and appoint one person to look after such issues. Good to see Hockey India CEO on the ground to resolve things and they will definitely do better in future.