Kolkata: Coaches and team officials of defending champions Railways and heavyweights Kerala yesterday complained of poor infrastructure facilities for the 55th National Open Athletics Championships beginning at SAI Complex here tonight.
The city last hosted the marquee meet of the Indian athletics in 2011 and the adjacent Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan was used for the track events. But with wear and tear in the synthetic track and the gigantic stadium up for maintenance for the FIFA U-17 world Cup 2017 the venue could not be used this time, according to
Railways coach Melwyn Crasto who's attached with the Central Railway, with athletes Lalita Babar, Sudha Singh, Dutee Chand among others, and Kerala athletics coach lamented that the Saltlake Stadium could not be used this time.
"This venue may not be big enough to accommodate the thousands of athletes, officials... Wish we could use the Saltlake Stadium," Railways coach Melwyn Crasto told PTI on the sidelines of their team's practice at SAI. Three makeshift galleries made up of bamboo have been erected and it will accommodate about 200 spectators.
"I don't blame the organisers but for the one of the biggest biggest meets of the Indian Athletics calendar, after the National Games, is this enough?" asked Rajeevan K of Kerala who topped the athletics medals tally in the National Games earlier this year.
"No permanent galleries mean that it would be difficult for coaches to track their athletes as well," he said adding that rain may also play a spoilsport for the spectators.
However the duo praised the synthetic track of the SAI. "Hope it does not rain next four days so that our athletes can give their best."