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HI lashes out at SAI

New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) on Saturday came down heavily on Sports Authority of India (SAI), saying the national men’s and women’s teams are forced to train on “torn and outdated” turfs on the eve of the Asian Games. It also alleged that hockey players were denied proper facilities in the camps funded by the SAI.

In a letter to sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior sports ministry and SAI officials, HI secretary general Narender Batra alleged the artificial hockey turfs in Bangalore, Patiala and Bhopal are badly damaged, but SAI has made no attempt to bring them back to shape.

Batra, in his support, has released a letter from HI high performance director Roelant Otlmans to SAI last week. In his letter, the senior Dutch coach said: “The pitch in Patiala is dangerous, not well maintained, which will affect the preparation of the women’s team for the Asian Games.”

Refuting the allegations, SAI director general Jiji Thompson said he never received any complaint about the turfs. “The Bangalore turf needed to be changed and we have already started the process. It can’t be done overnight. The government has to follow a procedure.”