Athletes stage protest

Athletes stage protest

Athletes stage protest

Around two hundred former and present athletes assembled at the Kittur Rani Chennamma Stadium in Jayanagar on Saturday, protesting Karnataka State Cricket Association’s plans of opening a training facility at the venue.

KSCA have signed a lease with the BBMP to set up six nets (three turf and three cement) to conduct their summer camp, but the athletics fraternity feels threatened by the State cricket body’s approach.

“We are not willing to let this happen. This ground is the only athletics ground available for children in South Bangalore. We have produced thousands of quality athletes from this area so I don’t know how the KSCA can take a stand like this. That too given that one of their officials (KSCA president Anil Kumble) used to play here and knows what it is like,” said Asian Games 400M silver medallist Uday Prabhu during the protest.

Former athlete Arjun Devaiah was of the opinion that the KSCA should have been aware of the situation before signing an agreement. “They should realise what they have done. The problem is that we were not in the loop. We do not know what is happening and given the number of encroachments that have occurred here in the past, we are bound to fight back. BBMP has spent so much money and readied this place for athletics only for the KSCA to come and set up their camp. I don’t understand it,” said the veteran.

Meanwhile, BBMP corporator Nagaraju, who was instrumental in getting KSCA the lease, said his office had called some of the coaches for a dialogue before the deal was signed but they did not turn up, making the decision to give KSCA a section of the ground an easy one. KSCA also has stated they had no intention of harming other sports while opening a training facility here.

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