Hockey India (HI) on Saturday sacked chief coach of the Indian men's team Roelant Oltmans for the country's poor show at the World League Semi-Final. The governing body of Indian hockey arrived at the decision at its three-day review meeting. India had finished sixth in the tournament, which is a qualifier for next year's World Cup. India however, have already qualified for the showpiece event on the basis of being the host nation.
Oltmans, who was initially appointed as a High Performance manager in 2013, became the head coach after Dutchman Paul Van Ass left controversially in 2015.
The Indian hockey federation thus maintained its record of firing international coaches intermittently. It started with Australian legend Ric Charlesworth and the list includes Spaniard Jose Brasa and Australians Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh.
The decision to sack Roelant Oltmans was taken by Hockey India on Saturday. Current High Performance Director David John will take over as the interim coach. India will be hosting the final of the FIH Hockey World League in December this year in Odisha. India will also host the World Cup in 2018.
Harbinder Singh, the chairman of Hockey India’s selection committee, said the decision to sack Oltmans was taken after a review of India’s performance in 2016-17. India’s next major international assignment will be the Asia Cup in Bangladesh from October 11-22.
Singh said India’s performance in the Hockey World League semifinal in London in June was disappointing. India finished sixth in the tournament after losing 3-2 to a resilient Canadian side. The win enabled Canada to book a World cup ticket.
"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,” said Harbinder Singh at the end of a high-profile meeting in Delhi where several top Indian players, including Khel Ratna Sardar Singh, PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh took part.
While Oltmans' role in improving the teams' overall fitness and cohesiveness was appreciated, the committee felt performance of the team wasn't consistent or up to the desired levels.
High Performance Director David John will be in charge till a suitable replacement is found for a smooth transition of the men's team. David is primarily a fitness trainer and has worked with the men's team before and during the London Olympics in 2012.