In-house bash by IT major hogs Sree Kanteerava Stadium track

Sree Kanteerava Stadium was milling with activity on Saturday, but it wasn’t the athletes who were honing their skills. The spotlight was hogged by workers erecting a stage on the football field beside the running track, leaving athletes — who come here for practice — helpless on the sidelines.

So what was going on? An IT major is hosting a sports and cultural event for its employees at the stadium on Sunday, and a massive stage is being built from scratch. Workers carrying materials casually ambled across the track, leaving a number of national- and State-level runners with the exasperating task of weaving and parrying to avoid a collision during training sessions.

Not the first time

A senior coach with the Karnataka athletic squad, who did not want to be named, lamented the apathy of the officials.

“This isn’t the first time that athletes have faced problems in the stadium. Cultural events and functions always get more importance than sports here. We regard Sree Kanteerava Stadium as our temple; a music event cannot disturb us in our place of worship,” he said, adding, “They drop these heavy materials on our tracks. This is slowly destroying it.”

Though the stadium rules permit private functions only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the coach said he and his wards have often waited well past the deadline to access the facilities. “Once, right before a function, an emcee even berated us over the PA system for taking a jog around the ground. His contention was that we were ruining the facilities provided for the function with our actions!”

No comment but…

J.M. Appachu, deputy director of DYSS Sports Hostel and Sports School, which has jurisdiction over the stadium, refused to comment when contacted. Sources, however, stated that Mr. Appachu dismissed all allegations of poor management, saying the event was scheduled on a holiday to minimise the disturbance it may cause to sportspersons.

Mr. Appachu also claimed strict instructions not to disturb the athletes were given to the IT major before the stadium was rented out.

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