Athletes rue lack of food standards at Olympic camp

Updated: Jun 22, 2012, 14:36 PM IST

Sonepat: Few days after the Sports Authority of India transfered two of its officials for serving rotten fruits to the Olympic-bound wrestling team, the campers complained that poor standards of food still persisted at the SAI centre.

"While some of the senior pros at the wrestling camp manage to bring in the uncooked stuff from their home and get it prepared according to their wish at the campus, the others are left to feed on the unhygienic food," an insider told PTI, on conditions of anonymity.

"The quality of food they serve is very poor. They do not maintain the proper hygiene. If you go inside the kitchen you will realise how unhygienic it is.

"When a government observer comes, the mess operator serves very good food to him, just to show that everything is fine. But isn`t it the duty of the observer to go inside the kitchen and check all his stuff, Check his refrigerator, where he stacks up all the stale food?," he added.

Recently, Commonwealth Gold medallist Yogeshwar Dutt during an interaction with the media in New Delhi had informed that he and a fellow grappler, Sushil Kumar, did not prefer to eat at the mess and rather got their "food made separately".

"If you keep the chapatis for just five minutes, you won`t be able to eat them after that. The hard work is upto us, but the food is upto them, at least they should make sure that right kind of food is served in the Olympic camp," the source insisted.

The athlete, who looked dejected at the way the camp was being organised, however, appreciated the role of the coaches in all this.

"The coaching facilities are very good, the practice is going on very well," he said, adding that coaches have on many occasions told the mess operator to work properly.

Asked whether the problem persisted even in the foreign countries, the wrestler said, "It is only here where they don`t care about their athletes. Whatever you get there it is of good quality. Even if it is less in quantity, it is very good in quality."

Meanwhile, when asked about the recently published report about the `rotten fruits`, another grappler said, "It was a thing of the past, but got published off late."

He, however, conceded that the report had some reality to it.

Another official at the facility also echoed similar concerns.

"Just recently they got tomatoes, which had turned pale and after the intervention of some of the senior guys he (mess operator) was forced to return them," he said.