Downtown

Where fitness comes free

The Corporation gyms on St. Mary's Road and at Alphonso ground. Photo:Jennifer Sharmila   | Photo Credit: Jennifer_Sharmila

VAT St. Mary’s Ground, R.A. Puram

Open: Morning and evening

While most Corporation gyms function either in the morning or evening, there are two gyms at this ground that open twice a day and draw more crowd than they can accommodate. So the gym equipment are pulled out to the playground, ensuring that nobody returns disappointed. In the evening, the two gyms, located at two ends of the ground, open their doors for employees who cannot make it in the morning. “The gym opens at 7.30 p.m. and sometimes people use it till 10.30 p.m.,” says V. Appu, who runs errands at the ground.

At least 20 people can be seen practising outdoors, both in the morning and evening.

Beyond fitness, this ground has been a recruiting platform for many star hotels, shooting location and venue for body building events.

Some scenes of Chennai 600028 were shot here. Recently, a body building competition was also conducted at the ground.

“Some of us are selected by star hotels that look for bouncers,” says S. Ramesh, 36, who has been frequenting the gym for over a decade.

The interiors of both gyms are drab. In one gym, the drabness is relieved by a group photo of the Recreation Club 2000-2001 team. At the other centre are displayed many fitness photographs taken over the years.

New equipment will further boost the popularity of these fitness centres, say youngsters.

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Alphonso grounds, R.A. Puram

Open: 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

A red carpet is rolled out across the gym, giving the place a clean and cosy look. The gym has an impressive number of equipment, which are well-maintained.

Between 5.45 a.m. and 7 a.m., at least 20 people visit the gym.

N. Nandakumar, who has been frequenting the gym since his college days, says this place has been a training ground for many power lifters. “Many practised here and later set up gyms of their own. We had a physical trainer those days, so we learnt new exercises” says Nandakumar. Nowadays, he and a few seniors help youngsters who are using the machines for the first time.

Members collect money for any minor repair work that has to be carried out at the gym.

A separate gym for women near the premise is also needed, they say.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 6:04:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/corporationrun-gyms-in-ra-puram/article7214502.ece

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