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India sack field hockey coach Oltmans after poor run

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Oltmans, who coached the Netherlands to the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and the World Cup title two years later, was the seventh foreigner to coach India in the last 12 years.

NEW DELHI -  India's field hockey body announced Saturday that it was sacking coach Roelant Oltmans after a string of lacklustre performances in national and international tournaments, two years after he took charge.

Oltmans, 63, was named as India's field hockey coach in July 2015 after fellow Dutchman Paul van Ass was removed just five months after assuming the position.

"While Roelant 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," Hockey India said in a statement.

The decision came after a three-day meeting to assess the men's national team's performance in a series of tournaments including the Hockey World League semi-finals last June in London where India finished sixth.

India went on to suffer a 1-3 loss against host Belgium in a European tour in August.

"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," Harbinder Singh, Hockey India's chairman, said in the statement.

"The current format of coaching was not showing results beyond a certain level."

Singh added "while change may not always be comfortable it is essential" for India's hockey team to be taken seriously at upcoming tournaments including the 2018 Asian Games and 2020 Olympics.

Hockey India said its High Performance Director, David John, would serve as interim coach till a replacement for Oltmans was found.

India once dominated the men's game at the Olympics and has won a total of eight golds. However the last of these was in Moscow back in 1980 and they finished last at the London games five years ago.

Oltmans, who coached the Netherlands to the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and the World Cup title two years later, was the seventh foreigner to coach India in the last 12 years.

After India's below-par showing in London, he snapped at reporters who criticised his leadership.

"Every time these guys are losing, you are writing negative," he said.

"Probably you will never understand what I am trying to say and I don't care about it."

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Muslim Global: India sack field hockey coach Oltmans after poor run
India sack field hockey coach Oltmans after poor run
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