With Paul van Ass’ return unlikely, Roelant Oltmans emerges as front-runner for Hockey India job

With little more than a year to the start of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Hockey India will have a new coach to help the men's team.

By Jayanta Oinam | Last Updated: Jul 22, 2015, 09:31 AM IST
With Paul van Ass’ return unlikely, Roelant Oltmans emerges as front-runner for Hockey India job

New Delhi: With little more than a year to the start of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Hockey India will have a new coach to help the men's team.

After days of speculation, Paul van Ass on Tuesday contended that Hockey India had fired him as the coach of the national team, ostensibly after a run-in with the HI president Narinder Batra during the recently concluded World Hockey League Semi-finals in Belgium.

Despite counter claims from the federation boss Batra that Van Ass was never sacked, many believed that the Dutchman has had his stint over in India. In fact, the Indian team has already started training at the SAI high altitude centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, on Monday, in his absence.

With all-important Olympics looming over and India's recent commendable performances against top teams, HI is likely to appoint its high performance director Roelant Oltmans as the successor to his Dutch compatriot. Installing the 61-year-old will be lot easier than finding another coach, considering his close affinity with the Indian team and also the fact that he was the interim Head Coach after Terry Walsh resigned in 2014.

If Oltmans, at all, takes up the job, he will become the sixth coach under the Batra's reign as HI president. Before Van Ass, Jose Brasa, Harinder Singh, Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh have had their stints in as India coach.

Van Ass was in charge of the team for four months, for two tournaments. Under his guidance, India won bronze medal at Azlan Shah Cup and finished fourth at World League semifinals.

A decision to appoint Oltmans is likely to be taken at the HI meeting on July 24.

(With Agency inputs)