The district-level Dasara sports meet organised by the Department of Sports and Youth Services here on Friday attracted around 600 participants in a host of track and field events.

Spread across several venues, the sports meet was a grand affair. Dozens of taluk-level kabaddi, kho-kho, volleyball, football and throw ball champions participated in the events. Other games and sports included handball, shuttle, table tennis, ball badminton, tennis and swimming.

Mangala Stadium, main venue of the meet, was buzzing with activity as athletes walked about, or sat chatting between events. Gangamma M. from Davangere, who participated in handball, said that the sport close to her heart was hockey. Although, she played it in Davangere, her college in Moodbidri did not have a girls' team.

“The first thing I did after getting here was to ask if there was a girls' team. I'm new here. I need some time to get to know the coaches,” she said and added that she hoped to put together a team.

An employee of Southern Railway, 24-year-old Shreema Priyadarshini was resting after participating in the 100-metre hurdles. She was participating in the open track events. As a sportsperson, who has been practising at the stadium for 12 years, she felt the need for a synthetic track.

She said that a major problem with the stadium was that it did not have a synthetic track for track events, which affected the athletes' performance at the national-level events. Running on synthetic tracks meant that the runner had to deal with the bounce that the track offered, whereas an ordinary track had no bounce. The bounce not only tired the runner faster, but also affected the speed of the runner, she added.

Degree student Sushmita Devdas watched the events as they progressed, unable to participate fully. Although, she had planned to participate in a relay race, she missed it owing to classes. However, she would not have been able to give the race her best owing to to an injury, she said.

Asked about the synthetic track, Assistant Director of the department P. Parshwanath said that the State government had released Rs. 3 crore for it. But “there were problems” as some of the firms, which laid synthetic tracks, were involved in the Commonwealth Games scandal.

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