An expert on sports facilities has advised the District Stadium Committee here against reinforcing the track at the Mangala Stadium with cinder or sand-mixed soil.

International Technical Official of the Athletics Federation of India Rajuvelu visited the stadium on Friday to inspect the track and suggest measures to improve the track as requested by the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports. The Stadium Committee, headed by Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj, had decided in one of its recent meetings earlier to reinforce the track with cinder or sand-mixed soil.

Mr. Rajuvelu, also a qualified coach, said temporary patchwork and levelling of the track was enough as the Government was planning to provide the stadium with modern synthetic track.

He told The Hindu at the stadium on Friday that the Stadium Committee may think of reinforcing the track with cinder or soil only if the Government’s plans to provide the stadium with modern synthetic track are delayed. Otherwise it would be a wasteful expenditure, he added.

If the Committee found it fit to reinforce the track, it may provide a layer of sand-mixed soil but not with cinder. He added that cinder was not easily available. Mr. Rajuvelu agreed that much of the cinder has vanished from the track because of rains in monsoon and in the form of dust during other seasons. Stating that cinder tracks are no longer recommended by sports technicians, he said a layer sand-mixed soil would be advisable only if laying of the synthetic track would take time. The sandy soil top could provide smooth surface for the athletes. The stadium officials could grow grass to enhance the comfort level for athletes.

Mr. Rajuvelu pointed out that majority of top ranking athletes in the State were from Mangalore and surrounding areas and hence it was important to provide them with good facilities.

Assistant Director of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, M.C. Ramesh, Vice-President of Karnataka Athletics Association, Sunil Shetty, Senior Athetic Coach of Sports Authority of Karnataka, Anantharam, and the former athlete and Stadium Committee member, Krishna Shenoy, accompanied Mr. Rajuvelu.

District athletic coach Vasanthkumar said hard surface could lead to discomfort for athletes and they may complain of pain in their legs.

Over a 100 athletes use the stadium for their regular practice. The include Uma Bhagyalkshmia (800 m runner), sprinter Vikas Puthran, Akash B. Rao (jumper), Varsha (triathlete) and Shreema Priyadarshini (heptathlete).

Mr. Vasanthkumar said the dust from cinder track was another health hazard for both athletes and hundreds of people who visit the stadium in the morning and evening for their daily walk.