Sun, Oct 23, 2016 | updated 01:22 PM IST

Hockey team not attending opening ceremony as they need 'rest': Sports Minister

Updated: Aug 06, 2016 08:48 IST

New Delhi, Aug 6 (ANI): Dispelling the notion that the Indian Hockey team was refusing to attend the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics as a sign of protest against inappropriate and shabby kits, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel asserted that the team was avoiding the ceremony as they had a match the next day and wanted to rest.

Speaking to ANI here, Goel stated that the matter was definitely not a controversy but simply a small issue.

"It's being said that the hockey team is not taking part due to an issue regarding their kit, but their captain himself has said that the next day is their match and they need rest. Everyone knows that the opening ceremony is a bonanza and players keep standing for hours as the march past goes on. This is a decision by the hockey team that they want to rest and we are with them," he said.

Talking about the controversy where contingents have reported of inadequate facilities and furniture at the Olympic Village, Goel added that the Indian embassy in Brazil has been handed a hefty budget to ensure that the Indian team is well taken care of.

"We have told our embassy that we will provide them a budget to provide all facilities to the players, if they find something amiss. I think that our athletes are well trained and motivated now. We have provided best coaching and facilities to our athletes and have spent lakhs on them," Goel said.

The build-up of the Games has been dominated by a doping scandal in Russia and also in India, threat of Zika virus, leading to withdrawal by big names, and issues with the city's security, infrastructure and venues.

But still, the Games promise to be, as always, the mother of all sporting events. (ANI)