State meet faces familiar hurdles

State meet faces familiar hurdles

Clash with football and accommodation worries cast a cloud over the event

State meet faces familiar hurdles
A familiar clash with football and worries over accommodation facilities have cast a cloud over the State Senior and Junior Athletics Championships, beginning at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday.

The State meet has attracted over 2000 entries. While the response for the meet has been highly encouraging, it has also put a severe strain on the Karnataka Amateur Athletics Association (KAAA), with the entire stadium premises not at their disposal.

JSW Sports, owners of the Bengaluru FC, are in the process of preparing the venue for their match AFC Cup match against Tampine Rovers on September 14, and as such, they have blocked entry to the turf with iron fences around the track, worried that throwing events might damage the ground.

Other options

The presence of the fences has forced the KAAA officials to look for other options to conduct field events like shot put, hammer throw and javelin. They also felt the fences – which are placed just one-metre away from the track, could be dangerous for the athletes.

“The JSW doesn’t want us to hold field events like shot put or hammer throw on the field, claiming it will spoil the grass. We have agreed to conduct shot put at the adjacent warm-up track and we might shift the hammer throw to Sports School, Vidyanagar. But we need the fences to be removed as it can prove dangerous for the athletes and the possibility of injuries is high,” said Chandrashekar Rai, Secretary, KAAA.

Adding to their woes, the JSW have locked up many rooms on the eastern wing of the stadium, hitting the accommodation arrangements.

“Seven rooms were locked up by the JSW. After coordinating with their officials, they agreed to offer us three rooms. But that is not sufficient, considering the large number of athletes we have,” said Rai.

Mandar Tamhane, Chief Technical Officer, BFC, said the requests for rooms to be vacated came only on Thursday afternoon and the JSW were trying their best to help KAAA organise the meet without any chaos.

“We were asked to vacate the rooms this afternoon. While we have given them three rooms, it is difficult to vacate the home dressing room and the match officials’ rooms as many accessories are stored there. We cannot remove them in a short span of time,” said Mandar.

Asked about the last-minute rush, Rai said many KAAA officials were not in town for the past three-four days, affecting the preparations.

“The number of entries also is huge this time. We didn’t want to discourage athletes from rural areas and allowed them entries,” Rai said.

Fences to be removed

Meanwhile, the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports stated that the fences would be removed. “I will communicate with the JSW authorities and instruct them to remove the fences,” DYES Joint Director Ramesh said.

Organisational flaws also loom over the meet, with lack of sufficient beds and dirty toilets in the stadium causing concern.

“We are trying our best to sort out the accommodation issues. Some athletes have been lodged in Koramangala indoor stadium as well,” said Rai.
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