The Sports Authority of Vietnam (SAV) on Tuesday afternoon relocated the youth table tennis team to a different training center after a newspaper had reported on their subpar meals, which were allegedly caused by allowance reductions meant to benefit their coaches.
Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper on Monday reported that a typical meal served to the eight athletes in the team cost VND800,000 (US$33), but it consisted solely of fried tofu, braised basa fish, fried spring rolls, a plate of boiled vegetables, and a bowl of tomato soup.
The athletes told Tien Phong that due to such insufficient portions, they frequently had to personally purchase extra food to ensure they had enough energy for their training.
Upon their reception of allowances, a portion had to be allocated to their coaches.
Following the report, the SAV has initiated investigations to validate and clarify the details in the news coverage.
They organized meetings with related agencies as part of this process.
Following a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the SAV officials announced a decision to relocate the national youth table tennis team, which is presently training at the My Dinh National Sports Complex, to the National Sports Training Center (Nhon Center), which is administratively their official governing body.
The primary objective is to provide the athletes with improved nutritional and lodging conditions.
The officials pledge to arrange their training in Nhon to meet professional standards.
|A typical meal served to national athletes undergoing training at Vietnam's National Sports Training Center. Photo: C.T.|
As per regulations mandated by the Ministry of Finance, national and youth team athletes receive a nutritional allowance of VND320,000 ($13) per person per day.
Athletes called up to national sports teams in preparation for events like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and Olympics are entitled to a daily nutritional allowance of VND480,000 ($20) for up to 90 days.
Additionally, athletes of national teams with the potential to win gold medals at events like the Asian Games and Youth Olympics or to qualify for the Olympics are granted a nutritional allowance of VND640,000 ($26) per person per day.
The funding required to implement these nutrition regimens for athletes is sourced from the annual state budget allocation designated for sports.
However, numerous athletes contend that this expenditure level, while suitable for the general population, falls short of meeting the elevated nutritional demands necessitated by athletes' rigorous training and physical exertion.
The athletes have persistently voiced grievances over the inadequacy of both the quality and quantity of food provided.
Moreover, they often do not receive consistent access to specialized dietary supplements during their training and competition phases.
Coupled with the absence of proper recovery equipment, strenuous training sessions leave athletes susceptible to injuries, hindering their performance.