With no indoor facility, players and coaches fear dip in performances
As rains lash the city, sport comes to a standstill. With hardly any indoor facilities, most games are suspended for months. Players and coaches believe this affects the performances of sportspersons.
The heart of athletics in the city, Mangala Stadium, remains closed for three months, and batches of athletes have to take their practice to other tracks, said officials at the Department of Youth Services and Sports.
Santosh P.M., a 20-kilometre runner, said it was hard to maintain physical fitness during this season. “With no routines, you tend to lose fitness.
If you want to maintain your performance, you need to practise, even in the rains. Injuries are common though,” he said, and added that there was a need for an indoor stadium if the coast wanted to excel in athletics.
Even cricket, the unofficial national game, can’t get respite during the monsoon. Srikanth Rai, convenor of Karnataka State Cricket Association, Mangalore, said with no indoor facilities, players have to practise in the rains. “Because the pitches are affected, practise is conducted on concrete pitches. Continuity is hit as the rains go on here for three months,” he said. The district association has asked KSCA for indoor facilities, but Mr. Rai said approval may come only after a year. Skating also skidded on the rains. Mahesh Kumar, who runs the Mangalore Skating Club, opposite Kadri Park, said between June and September, the rink was locked, and classes were taken indoors to a rented hall. “The hall is small and is sometimes rented out for programmes, the practice is affected.
Only a limited number of children can practise. We often have to turn away many children,” he said.
With most national-level and international-level competitions being held during this season, Mr. Kumar said skaters from the coast were at a disadvantage.
Despite the rain, practice has to go on for players to remain in touch, said M.U. Kamath, honorary manager, Canara Tennis Academy. “From around 25 children during other seasons, only eight come during the rains. Practice is necessary for senior players to ensure physical fitness and continuity, even though there is a chance of injury playing on the wet, concrete surface,” he said.
Though basketball players get respite from the rains after shifting to U.B. Mallya Indoor Stadium, Mangalore Basketball Club president Naveen Shetty said: “There is a time share arrange with badminton players. Because of this, we only get three hours for basketball daily.”
However, one sport that seems to go on unaffected, is unsurprisingly, one that deals with water anyway. Though heavy rains have reduced the number of people who turn up at the Mangalore City Corporation Swimming Pool in Urwa, professional swimmers continue training unabated.
“In April and May more than 150 people came here to swim daily in the public slot. Now, it has reduced to less 50 daily,” said Ramesh Vijay, Manager of the pool. However, there is a flipside: “With lesser people around, and no other form of exercise in this season, trained swimmers practise more. Now, more than 75 trained swimmers practise daily,” he said.