Synthetic track still a distant dream

A partial view of the synthetic track at Mangala Stadium in Mangalore.

Although Mangalore has contributed a considerable number of sports talents to the nation, lack of interest on part of administration was a major hindrance to the overall development in the field of sports here. In spite of producing sports talents, the city does not have a synthetic track to train the talents in the international standard.

The call for a synthetic running track in the Mangala Stadium reached a crescendo the moment the city-based athlete M R Poovamma returned from the Beijing Olympics. The State government which approved the proposal for the synthetic running track. When Chief Minister B S Yeddyurapa laid foundation for the track, all the sports talents in the district had a hope that they can utilise the track at the earliest. However, even after nine months, the work on the track is yet to commence.

The district stadium situated in 19.5 acre land includes a 400 metre cinder track. The authorities want to convert the cinder track into eight lane 400 metre synthetic track.
While the stadium came into existence is 1978, the track available at the Mangala stadium is made of cinder which was laid in 2001. The cinder track has more disadvantages when compared to synthetic track.

The athlete can suffer from bone or ankle ligament pain if he regularly practices on the
cinder track.

Moreover, the cinder gets vanished from the track because of rains in monsoon and in the form of dust during other seasons. Moreover, the cinder tracks no longer recommended by sports technicians. When tender was called for laying synthetic track at Mangala stadium recently, three companies had come forward to lay the track. Mando of Italy and Jubilee Sports Technology (I) Pvt Ltd had reached the finals. The Jubilee Sports had quoted lowest bid of Rs 3.12 crore to lay the synthetic track.

However, this company’s contracts in relation to the Commonwealth Games have come under the scanner of the high-level V K Shunglu Committee, the previous Deputy Commissioner Subodh Yadav who chairs stadium committee decided to cancel the tender.
In fact, Mando Company is an international company which had laid synthetic tracks at Seoul Olympics in 1988. However, it had quoted Rs 40 lakh more than Jubilee Sports for laying drainage. Moreover, it had also asked for exemption of tax for the import of materials for laying the track.

In the backdrop of Jubilee Sports Technology’s connection with Commonwealth Games, the previous DC had asked the Joint Director of Youth Service and Sports department to call for a fresh tender, said department of Youth and Sports service in-charge Assistant Director Parshwanath, to City Herald.  

He said the government has already released Rs 3 crore for laying the synthetic track. “If the SR rate quoted by the bidders is more, then we will seek additional funds from the government for laying the track.” If the tender is invited now, then the work may commence only after the monsoon, which will still delay the work on the synthetic track.

Amidst all these confusion, will synthetic track be a reality in Mangalore is a million dollar question?

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