Poor quality running track, rickety visitors’ chairs and scratches on running tracks have been hidden by shabby patchwork, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports complex at Balewadi where the 20th Asian Athletic Championship (AAC) will be held from July 3.
The city’s only sports complex which has also hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2008, revealed the loopholes in the preparation for the AAC, irrespective of tall claims made by the district administration and the state sports minister.
After fourteen years India is once again hosting the Asian games, which will be inaugurated on July 2. For Pune it will be an another feather in the cap as it is for the first time that the city is hosting the games after the Tamil Nadu government backed out citing participation of Sri Lankan players in the championship.
When MiD DAY asked state Sports Minister Padmakar Walvi whether the track is suitable for the championship, he said that the track is in good condition and there would be no more repair work. Athletics Federation of India technical committee head CK Walson also agreed with the minister and said, “The track has got a certificate from the International Athletic Federation and there is no question of the track being of bad quality,” said Walson.
However, when this reporter visited the sports complex it was discovered that not only the track but also the seating arrangement is in poor condition. Most of the chairs are broken or misplaced which Walvi said would be repaired as soon as possible.
Former athlete and coach Arvind Chavan said that obviously such patches on the track make the surface uneven, which would affect on the speed of the participants.
“In the running race or hurdle race each second is important to win the competition. However, due to uneven track the player might lose his balance and could lose the competition,” said Chavan.