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No food for Olympians: Indian racewalkers forced to skip meals due to poor administrative coordination

The Rio-bound Indian racewalking contingent has registered an official complaint with the Sports Authority of India.

One of India’s top race walkers Sandeep Kumar

The Indian Rio Olympic race-walking contingent threatened to leave their ongoing preparatory camp in Spala, Poland, after failing to garner a proper diet and masseur yesterday. Post participating at the IAAF Race Walking Championship in Rome, the athletes had to skip meals because of their training regime and canteen timings.

They registered a complaint with both the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and Sports Authority of India (SAI), about the training conditions. A senior AFI official told Sportskeeda, “We spoke to them last night and told them that we have already talked to the centre about their diet and it won’t be an issue. They will continue training in Poland for the time being and their timings also show how much they have improved.”

According to our sources, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has already advised AFI to move their training base to Bengaluru. DG SAI Injeti Srinivas confirmed that the athletes have requested a shift to Bengaluru from Poland.

He said, “We had personally asked the walkers whether they would like to train here in India or stay in Poland. The choice was unanimous, that they would like to come back to India.”

Missing a meal massively detrimental to training regime: Indian racewalker

According to one of the senior walkers, the contingent had to miss out on meals, because they were training and missed out on canteen timings. He said, “Missing a meal is massively detrimental to us at this stage. We train as per out diet, and they walk hand in hand, even if we miss one meal, it will severely affect our training for that day or the next.”

The senior AFI official stated that it was the food issue, which agitated the walkers. He said, “The walkers should have come directly to us instead of involving SAI. We would have fixed the issue immediately.”

A meeting between DG SAI and the TOPS committee will take place later this week to confirm their transfer to Bangalore.

The absence of a masseuse also major affected the athletes, with several of them complaining of regular cramps. The athlete added, “We need it for our cool down, because we spend so much time training, we need to relax our muscles before training again. A couple of the walkers are already complaining about cramps because of this.”

A masseuse was accompanying the team at the World Championships in Rome, but failed to make the trip to Poland. However, the AFI official is confident that the team will remain in Poland. He said, “It was a case of poor coordination, and the walkers acted on impulse. We have spoken to them and cleared it out with the centre.”

The AFI is now involved in yet another alleged administrative collapse, after last month’s electricity shortage in Nehru stadium.

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