Angry athletes and residents staged a protest at the Kittur Rani Chennamma Stadium in Jayanagar in Bangalore on Saturday over a move to use a portion of the ground for cricket training.
The Karnataka State Cricket Association is developing six cricket pitches on one part of the ground, leading to fears that field disciplines — discus, javelin throw and so on — will suffer.
“This ground has produced many athletes. Many schools in the area use it for their sports meets. We need at least 90 metres for events like javelin and discus. This won’t be possible with the cricket nets here,” said Karnataka Athletics Association secretary Satyanarayana.
Olympian Arjun Devaiah also threw his weight behind the cause. “We’re not against cricket but other sports must not suffer. If they needed it for cricket, they could have rented school grounds. There aren’t many grounds for field events.”
Local councillor N. Nagaraju, however, downplayed these fears.
“The KSCA is only going to develop the pitches and then return them to the BBMP. Free summer camps will be held here. It is part of the redevelopment of the stadium, which will make it multipurpose. I have been inviting those who are against this to have a meeting but they have not responded,”