Bangalore: Over 1600 athletes in the age group of 12-20 years are in attendance for the National junior athletic championships, but they have been housed in conditions that are galling. With cold weather sweeping in and temperatures in the city dipping, the young athletes have been forced to make do with just a mattress to go with poor sanitation facilities at the Sree Kanteerava stadium.
Athletics, like any other sport, is one of sweat, blood and sacrifices. While our young athletes push themselves the extra mile in a bid to make it big, the callousness of the organizers is indeed shocking.
Bungling KAAA's utter disregard for athletes
The talented youngsters, the future of Indian sport have been housed in such miserable conditions at the National junior athletic championships that it would dissuade any parent from allowing their children to take up the sport.With over 1600 athletes competing over five days at the Nationals at the Sree Kanteerava stadium, the logistics of boarding and lodging was always a daunting one, but the manner in which they have been ‘dumped’ in dormitories is deplorable.
While the boys have been put up in various dormitories and wedding halls, the girls, numbering over 500, have been accommodated at the Kanteerava stadium hostel.
The athletes have been virtually thrown together in rooms with mattresses strewn around the dormitories. With winter setting in, the athletes have been caught in the cold by this ‘hospitality’ and have been left to fend for themselves.
“I have been competing for the past few years and conditions across the country leave a lot to be desired, but this is the worst we have seen. It’s really cold and with so many of us huddled in a room it gets very stuffy. We cannot open the windows because it becomes an open invitation for the mosquitoes since there is garbage all over the place. It’s so uncomfortable in the night that it has affected our performance too. The less said the better about the restrooms, which is insufficient for the number of people housed here and is terribly maintained too,” lamented an athlete from Punjab.
they had very little time to be competition ready.
Although I knew about some of the shortcomings I was not aware of the acute problems faced by the athletes. I will visit the facilities on Thursday and ensure the athletes are looked after better.” When contacted, Vikash Kumar, director, Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, said, “I’m aware of the fact that the facilities at the stadium leave a lot to be desired, but the renovation work is in progress and will take at least two months. We had informed the KAAA about it and even asked them not to conduct the event at the Kanteerava stadium, but they said they would ‘adjust’ and go ahead with the event. Even basic facilities are not in a usable condition and the organisers were made aware of it.”