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Oltmans confirmed as Indian hockey chief coach

FOLLOWING THE UNCEREMONIOUS ouster of Dutchman Paul van Ass, his compatriot and Hockey India (HI) director high performance Roelant Oltmans was on Saturday confirmed as the chief coach of the Indian team.

"Oltmans has agreed to be the coach of Indian men's team. He is our coach until the 2016 Olympics. We will request him to stay until the 2018 World Cup," HI president Narinder Batra said here after meeting Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Injeti Srinivas.

The decision was based on the recommendations made by the HI-appointed special committee looking into the performance of the Indian men's and women's teams at the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final in Antwerp. The committee comprised of former eminent players and Olympians and was chaired by Harbinder Singh. Others were B.P. Govinda, V. Baskaran, A.B. Subbaiah, Thoiba Singh, R.P. Singh, Asunta Lakra and Jasjeet Kaur.

The committee on Friday unanimously decided not to consider van Ass for the future, ending the six-month tenure of the 54-year-old.

The entire saga started in Belgium where van Ass and Batra had an altercation after India's victory over Malaysia in the quarter-final of the HWL Semi-Final. Speculation began when van Ass did not return to take charge of a fitness camp of the Indian team in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh.

The statements of both parties were contentious. While van Ass said that he had not been sent air tickets to return to India and was "fired" by HI, Batra maintained that return tickets had been sent and van Ass was lying. The HI president also added that the Dutch tactician was supposed to file his report on the team's performance which he did not.

"Paul van Ass had his personal problems. He is not a good coach. He is away and beating about the bush, putting allegations. We can't give clarifications to his allegations," said Batra.

Earlier in the day, Oltmans arrived from Shilaroo to meet Batra and HI chief executive officer (CEO) Elena Norman. They later met Srinivas.

The 61-year-old Oltmans is not new to the dual role as he has handled it before to give HI time to find a replacement for the outgoing coach.

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