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Olympic-bound wrestlers served 'rotten' food

Indian sports officials have expressed shock at conditions in the Olympic training camp for the nation's wrestlers, with rotten fruit being prepared in a dirty kitchen, a report said Tuesday.

Former swimmer Khajan Singh, a member of the sports ministry's monitoring panel, visited the camp at Sonepat, 45 kilometres (30 miles) north of New Delhi, where the wrestlers are training ahead of next month's London Games.

"I was shocked to see rotten fruits used to make juice and unhygienic conditions in the kitchen," Singh, a silver-medallist at the 1986 Asian Games, told a leading national daily.

Sushil Kumar
Sushil Kumar is one of the wrestlers preparing for the Olympics at the camp. 

"There is no dietitian or medical expert to oversee the quality of food being served." The wrestlers had not complained because they feared being thrown out of the camp, Singh explained.

Among the wrestlers training at the camp was Sushil Kumar, who won a bronze at the Beijing Olympics and is a rare medal prospect for the London Olympics, which begins on July 27.

With 1.2 billion people and a rapidly growing economy, India should be an emerging Olympic powerhouse but it achieved a meagre haul of just one gold and two bronzes at Beijing 2008.

Sports bosses set up an organisation called "Olympic Gold Quest" in 2001 to improve the nation's record, but under-investment in facilities and coaching for athletes remains a severe problem. 

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