Tiruchi shall be the fourth city after Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai in the state to have this facility

With the Anna Stadium in the city all set for getting a synthetic athletics track, the long felt need of the sports fraternity in Tiruchi is poised for fruition.

The announcement made by C.Ve.Shanmugam, Minister for School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare, in the Assembly recently that an eight-lane synthetic athletics track with floodlights would be established in Tiruchi, has brought cheers to the athletics community of the district.

“It has been our yearning for a long time and we are thankful to the State government,” said N.Annavi, former international high jumper and secretary, Tiruchi District Athletics Association.

The synthetic athletics track in Tiruchi will be the fourth in the State after Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai. Mr.Annavi observed that the facility, once in place, would be of immense benefit to young athletes. “We have highly talented athletes who have done well at different levels. Though they usually go to Madurai or Chennai to practise in synthetic tracks for a couple of weeks before the commencement of an event they have been winning medals consistently.” Mr.Annavi, a former high jump national record holder, felt that the synthetic track would help in the hosting of prestigious events and inspire more youngsters to take up athletics. The flood lights, he said, would enable athletes to practice late in the evening. Welcoming the State government's decision, Olympian P.Subramanian said that synthetic athletics track would benefit not only Tiruchi athletes but also those in the neighbouring districts.

“Apart from the eight lanes, a couple of practice lanes should also be laid,” added Mr.Subramanian, who represented the country in 200 metre sprint in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Promising high jumper Nikhil Chittarasu, an employee of Southern Railway, Tiruchi division, is excited about Tiruchi getting a synthetic track. “It will be a boon for athletes like me aspiring to make it big in the international arena,” said Nikhil, who represented the country in last year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

A synthetic hockey turf of international standard has already been created at the Anna Stadium complex, which also has a football ground, swimming pool, gymnasium and a sports hostel. More sports facilities are coming up.

The construction of a multipurpose indoor stadium is nearing completion. It can host a range of events including basketball, volleyball, badminton and handball with a capacity to accommodate nearly 2,000 spectators.

A squash court is coming up at the sprawling stadium and first phase of the works have been completed. The synthetic surface for the tennis courts in the stadium is on the anvil. Once the projects are completed, Tiruchi will rank among cities with best sports facilities in the State.