HI sacks chief coach Roelant Oltmans

NEW DELHI: Hockey India has sacked head coach Roelant Oltmans following the national team’s poor showing in the last two years. High performance director David John will take charge till a suitable replacement is found.

Oltmans, who was initially appointed as a high performance manager in 2013, became head coach after Paul Van Ass left in 2015 following a fallout with then HI president now FIH chief Narinder Batra.

This was announced at the end of a three-day meeting of the HI's high performance and development committee.

The meeting was attended by over 24 members over the three days including Harbinder Singh, BP Govinda, V Baskaran, Thoiba Singh, Dr AB Subbaiah, Dr RP Singh, Joydeep Kaur, Sardar Singh, PR Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Oltmans, Jugraj Singh, Arjun Halappa, Hans Streeder, Scott Conway, David John, Elena Norman, Mariamma Koshy, Md Mushtaque Ahmad Rajinder Singh, Tapan Das, Bhola Nath Singh, Firoz Ansari and Gyanendro Ningombam. 

Inputs were incorporated from all committee members to emerge with focus areas and the way forward for the Indian men’s team. 

The outcome of the meeting was basis the objective to not only assess the recent performance of the Men’s national team at the World League Semi Final tournament as well as the European Tour but to also take concrete steps towards a winning performance in critical upcoming tournaments including the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Cup coming up in 2018 and the 2020 Olympic Games, HI stated. 

While Oltmans' role as chief coach in improving the teams’ overall fitness and cohesiveness has been appreciated, the results are what matter and the performance of the team has not been consistent or up to the desired levels, HI further stated.

Additionally, the director high performance and HI selection committee will be required to perform a detailed assessment of all the senior core probables, with those that have reached their peak performance to make way for younger talent. 

The ray of hope shown via noteworthy performance of a much younger team at the recently concluded Europe Tour proves that it is time to recalibrate.

Harbinder Singh, chairman of the HI selection committee said: “The committee was convened since we are collectively not satisfied with the Indian men’s hockey team’s performance in 2016 and 2017 and feel that wins in Asia can’t be a benchmark for success any more. We need to show results beyond intent in key international tournaments where the sporadic success over the last two years is more incidental than deliberate. 

“To make results a reality, we need to make hard decisions for the greater good of the future of hockey in India. The current format of coaching was not showing results beyond a certain level. 

“The committee was unanimous in agreement that immediate action was required to be taken and while change may not always be comfortable it is essential if we want to position ourselves as a serious global contender for the upcoming critical tournaments in 2018 including the Asian Games & World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games.”