The city may have been robbed of a chance to host the 20th Asian Athletics Championship but residents have something new to look forward to.

Chennai will soon have additional sporting facilities including a world-class cycling velodrome and football turfs. A team of officials from the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) and the Chennai Corporation has inspected plots and playgrounds of the civic body for development of the modern facilities. A decision is likely soon.

SDAT has proposed the development of a cycling velodrome near Thiru.Vi.Ka. park in Shenoy Nagar. Around six acres is required for the project which would facilitate performance cycling, cycling competitions and practice sessions.

The Chennai Corporation is mulling handing over the land to SDAT for the cycling velodrome. However, SDAT officials have also inspected a plot in the Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University in Vandalur.

The decision to set up the facility either in Vandalur or Shenoy Nagar will be taken shortly. However, experts fear a number of students from city schools may lose out on the opportunity to train in a world-class facility if SDAT opts for Vandalur.

The sports authority has requested the Chennai Corporation to permit them to develop and maintain football playgrounds in areas such as Vyasarpadi, Tondiarpet and Mogappair. The development of football turfs to international standards is likely to facilitate better training for students in the city.

The Chennai Corporation, a few years ago, initiated the process of improving 10 playgrounds chosen from each of the old Corporation zones into star-rated playgrounds. The facility in Gopalapuram was equipped with facilities for various sports, including volleyball. There are around 250 playgrounds maintained by the civic body in the city.

But, players who make use of the playgrounds have pointed to the fact that many of them have faulty designs and are poorly planned. These have led to inundation during rains. Many such football playgrounds were inundated in north Chennai last monsoon.

The new Chennai Corporation council, too, is yet to make any efforts towards putting in place a sound procedure to create and maintain good playgrounds. The SDAT’s proposal to develop world-class football turfs on Corporation land may be good news for football players in the city.

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