Officials point out non-conformities, may miss national event in December

Minor hurdles have propped up, delaying the international certification of the newly-inaugurated synthetic track of the Mangala Stadium. The delay in certification, which would see the city hold national-level and international-level events, means that the national-level event planned for December, remains in doubt.

After the completion of minor works – which was a month after the then Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar inaugurated the Rs. 3.15-crore synthetic track on March 19 – inspectors appointed by the International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) oversaw the track for certification.

The Department of Youth Services and Sports was subsequently greeted with a bitter sweet report on May 21 this year.

In a letter addressed to the department, which was accessed by The Hindu, officials from Trackmaster International (Thailand), who checked for conformity to IAAF rules, said the project had been executed in accordance with the rules, except for “one small area, which is slightly over the tolerance” of measurements. Though unsure, official believe that the tolerance in question could be the grade of the line markings at the turning of the track.

The report also catalogues two more areas of concern that needed to be addressed: the need to prop up a “raised border (railing) on the inside of the first lane that runs along the entirety of the track; and, the “landing area of throwing events” should be properly landscaped so that it is not lower than the throwing point beyond a certain measure. While the first is a standard design element, to separate tracks from the inner area, the latter is needed for standardisation, that is, the venue does not give an undue advantage to local athletes over those who come from other venues for competitions here, the report says.

Department sources said the contractor, Delhi-based Syncotts International, will have to rectify the deficiencies.

“We have a bit of money left over from the project and we can allocate it to these constructions. Only getting the material here will take time. We have withheld 25 per cent of the payment, till the certification comes through,” said an official. Based on assurances from the company, officials will write to the IAAF asking them to expedite the certification process.

While no international events are being planned, an official said the department here had received in-principle approval for a national-level event – the first to be conducted on the synthetic track – in December.

Talking on the condition of anonymity, a stadium committee member blamed the errors to lack of overseeing. “The department is supposed to monitor the progress. How did they not see it before inspectors point it out,” he asked. He said with the process bound to take at least three months, the national-level meet may be in doubt. “After the IAAF certification comes through, the national-level body will have to inspect. This will take time,” said the member.

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