Protest held against state of affairs at Kanteerava stadium

In the wake of reports about poor management disrupting athletes’ training routine at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here, Karnataka’s senior athletics coach V.R. Beedu and a few other coaches held a protest at the stadium on Wednesday to highlight the various inconveniences faced by sportspersons here.

Joined by athletes including Arjuna awardee Reeth Abraham, who were holding placards with slogans like ‘The Stadium Officer never visits or supervises’ and ‘Reinstate the complaint book and suggestion book’, Mr. Beedu and his colleagues urged the authorities to take immediate action to address their concerns.

Abysmal conditions

A tour around the stadium revealed that many of the facilities in the stadium are currently in poor condition. The toilets floors are nearly ankle-deep in water, and the stench is unbearable. The gymnasium or ‘weight room’ — a key component in an athlete’s fitness regimen — is not equipped with dumbbells and barbells, forcing the athletes to make do with one bench for weight training. Poor maintenance and missing parts also makes it hard to complete a machine exercise routine.

Athletes and coaches are also sore over the stadium being rented out to private entities, who host cultural events there. “As per the rules, functions can be held only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. We often find that these functions continue till 6 p.m., making it impossible for us to train,” says Mr. Beedu.

The coach added that after the athletes faced unwelcome hurdles in the lead up to the event held by an IT major on Sunday (this sparked the initial report titled ‘They have IT, but athletes don’t’ in The Hindu on November 25), runners once again found themselves parrying workers when they took to the track on Monday morning. The workers were crossing the track with heavy material while disassembling the stage erected for the function.

J.M. Appachu, deputy director of DYSS Sports Hostel and Sports School, stated that new toilets and gyms will be constructed soon. “I saw the gym and decided that it is not right to undertake any repair work; so we decided to build a new gym,” Mr. Appachu, who is in charge of stadium affairs, said. Painting work was under way in the gym on Wednesday, though it could not be confirmed if this was part of an effort to build a new facility altogether.

Denies allegations

Mr. Appachu denied allegations that functions extend beyond the stipulated time slot, reiterating his earlier stance that strict measures are in place to ensure that athletes don’t face any difficulties when the stadium is rented out.

Responding to concerns about the condition of the toilets, he replied: “I know that there are problems, but you must understand that things cannot happen immediately. It is just a matter of time before new toilets are constructed. We have appointed a separate engineering team for these purposes.”

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