National table tennis to replace coach amid controversies

By Trung Thu   October 5, 2023 | 07:06 am PT
The government has been asked to replace national youth table tennis head coach Bui Xuan Ha after criticism of the nutrition regiments and allowances doled out to his athletes.

The Department of Physical Education and Sports as well as the table tennis division are still investigating Ha's treatment of his players and have not reported their final conclusions yet.

Coach Bui Xuan Ha at a tournament. Photo acquired by VnExpress

National table tennis coach Bui Xuan Ha at a tournament. Photo by QDND

But a source told VnExpress that Ha will leave his position to someone else.

Ha became the head coach off the national team in December 2022. The team also made up of assistant coach To Minh and 10 athletes from different provinces.

After nine months under coach Ha, several athletes said that their meals were inadequate, even though the food budget for each person a day is VND320,000.

For breakfast, they only get a pack of sticky rice and a bottle of soft drink or milk, while other meals in the day only have a few dishes like fried tofu, braised fish and boiled vegetables.

The small portions meant the athletes felt undernourished, weak and without enough energy. They had to spend their own money on food to fill their starving bellies, or ask their families to send food so they would have enough to eat and train properly.

In another extremely controversial move, athletes also said they had to transfer part of their allowance to coach Ha.

On Tuesday, the Department of Physical Education and Sports asked the team to meet with the National Sports Center, while representatives of the National Sports Complex and the kitchen in charge of the meals for the team were absent.

Ha said he kept money as personal savings for three athletes Huynh Tieu Binh, Huynh Tieu Di and Che Thanh Phu after an athlete was swindled online and lost his allowance for a month. Ha recorded it all in his personal notebook.

However, these three athletes said the amount of money recorded did not match what they had to pay. In addition, Ha's explanation is also not consistent with his first response to the media. At that time, he said he used the money to spend on activities of the team such as going to buffets, the cinema and picnics trips.

Regarding food expenses, each athlete received VND320,000 a day but Ha only sent VND270,000 each to the National Sports Complex kitchen. He explained that the VND50,000 VND skimmed from each athlete was used for training activities, including buying water and functional foods, but has not been able to produce any receipts.

After the incident, the National Sports Complex kitchen temporarily closed. The national youth table tennis team had to eat outside for two days, before moving to the National Sports Center for accommodation and training.

This is not the first time coach Ha has been caught up in controversy. In 2016, a video captured him using a broom handle to hit athlete Bui Van Duc who was lying face down on the floor. That video was from April 2015, but Ha still received a disciplinary warning from the Department of Physical Education and Sports.

go to top