Sometime in January 2005 the Coimbatore Corporation got a piece of synthetic turf measuring 30x25 metres from the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium in Chennai. It installed the turf at the Corporation Boy’s Higher Secondary School in R.S. Puram to the students and budding hockey players to practice.
Eight years down the line, in 2013, the turf is deserted and has not seen hockey sticks and ball in a while. The Corporation does not allow outsiders to use the turf. Sources say it is exclusively reserved for the Corporation school students. If others want to use the same they will have to get the consent of the Corporation Commissioner.
During the school hours, a few students get to use them but only during the physical education training hours – for a few hours a week. After school hours the students do not practice because there is none to coach, the sources say.
In short, the turf is sparsely used during school hours and thereafter remains inaccessible, defeating the very purpose for which the turf was brought to the city from Chennai.
This was not the case when the turf landed in January 2005. There was lot of enthusiasm around. Hockey coaches said it would improve the quality of the game in the city as budding players were so far playing only on barren grounds. It would sharpen their skills.
The other reason for the enthusiasm was that Coimbatore had produced two international hockey players – Adam Sinclair and N. Senthil Kumar. The latter, incidentally, was a Corporation school student at Pappanaickenapalayam.
In due course, the attitude of the Corporation school authorities put off players and coaches. Then came the transfer of hockey coaches.
Sources within the Corporation only confirm the same: the turf has of late been underutilised. They also lament the absence of any forward movement on the proposal to have a full-fledged synthetic turf at the school.
The Mayor, S.M. Velusamy, in his 2012-13 budget speech promised to build a synthetic turf at the school at Rs. 6 crore. After his announcement nothing much happened. He has now presented his budget for 2013-14 as well.
The sources say not letting the budding players use the existing turf and delaying the construction of a new full-fledged turf is a double blow for sports enthusiasts in the city.
Officials in the Corporation say the delay in constructing the turf is due the lack of expertise. It has sought the help of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu for the purpose.