In a sporting gesture, University of Pune (UoP) is set to amend its 64-year-old history by building two world-class tennis courts on its campus. This is the first initiative of its kind by the institution to promote sports culture among pupils. The two courts and two practice strips will be built on one acre of the varsity’s playground with a budgetary allocation of around Rs 1.75 crore.
“We have given the contract to renowned architect Shashi Prabhu. He has already submitted a detailed plan and we have set November 2013 as the deadline for completion of the project,” said Dr W N Gade, vice-chancellor of UoP.
Serving an ace
There are around 200 tennis courts in the city, most of them located in colleges affiliated to UoP. We asked the V-C why this initiative is coming so late. “Yes it’s true that the varsity should have equipped itself with such basic sports facilities in the past too. But with the forging of the tennis courts we are embarking on creation of the proposed sports complex, for which we have allocated Rs 40 crore,” he said.
RV Patil, executive engineer of UoP’s estate department, informed, “With a dimension of 60 feet by 120 feet we will make sure that both the courts meet international standards.” For this, the varsity is getting guidance from former Indian tennis coach Nandan Bal. Speaking to MiD DAY, Bal said, “The facilities coming up in UoP will be state-of-the-art synthetic courts. Eighty per cent of the tournaments across the world are held on such courts. So, this is really a great step forward for the university.”
Rutuja Bhosale, an international tennis player from the city, feels that if the varsity itself provides basic infrastructure, this will definitely attract more and more youngsters to the sport. “If one starts playing tennis as a hobby, he or she has to spend around Rs 4,000 a month at private clubs in the city. Professional coaching costs you nearly Rs 20,000 every month. So making new courts available at minimal cost to players is the need of the hour,” said Rutuja, a class XII student.
Meanwhile, Dr Chandrakant Rawal, principal of Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC), which has pioneered sports culture in the city, clarified that even though UoP’s enterprise of constructing tennis courts is laudable, the varsity must ensure that the facilities do not remain underutilised.
“If UoP is planning to construct top-notch tennis courts, it should also make sure that they are adequately maintained and maximum number youngsters, either studying in the departments of the varsity or in affiliated colleges, are benefited. Fashioning a dedicated sports complex for indoor and outdoor games under one roof is the need of the hour. That’s why UoP must set a target for the duration in which this infrastructure will get ready and the additional efforts theadministration can make to bring forth new national and international players,” said Rawal.
University of Pune, which has more than 400 acres of area and 879 affiliated colleges in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts, surprisingly doesn’t have basic infrastructure for sports. Establishing a dedicated sports complex is a long-pending vision of the varsity, which will finally be implemented with creation of the tennis courts in the first phase. UoP has reserved 27 acres of land with a budgetary provision of Rs 40 crore for the sports complex. Synthetic running tracks, a football ground, and a badminton hall are on the list.