Athletes in a spin but KSCA plays straight
The venue, which has been home to some of Karnataka’s leading athletes since its inception in 1985, is a rare track and field arena in South Bangalore and is used by numerous local schools and colleges. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) is planning to have a training facility for budding cricketers at the venue, much to the chagrin of the athletics fraternity.
They fear the track will disappear in the process, robbing them of a training arena dear to them.
“A synthetic track is expected to come up here but while that is a promising development, we are very worried about KSCA putting up their nets here,” said athletics coach Sunil Kumar who has trained the likes of long distance runner Preethi L Rao.
“What is the point of developing the track and destroying the field? Once they (nets) come up, it will be the end of all activities here. There are a lot of logistics that go into making a track and field arena. The nets hamper all our plans,” said the agitated former athlete.
KSCA however said they will be using only a part of the field for laying six turf wickets to conduct their free summer coaching camp.
KSCA president Anil Kumble said the nets will not affect the athletes and their training in any way. “In no way will it hamper other sports. We are going to have the nets there and if anything, it will enhance the potential of the stadium,” opined the former India skipper, who like many from Jayanagar, has played at the venue.
“It will benefit cricketers in the area for sure but it will certainly not hamper the athletes. I am well aware of all the sports played there and we have ensured that none of them will stand to be hampered. We also know how important it is for other sports to flourish,” added Kumble.
The KSCA, who took part of the ground on lease with help from BBMP Council Member N Nagaraju, will conduct a six-week camp -- for which the selection process has begun -- and also intend to include clubs from in and around the area as part of their scheme.
According to Jayanagar MLA BN Vijay Kumar, the stadium already has seven matting wickets already but he said that area can be used for field events. “We want to see how it will help the stadium but we are also very aware of how important athletics is. So we are doing everything in our power to make sure the athletes do not have a cause for concern,” said the BJP member.