Crores Spent; Game for Future?

While Kerala ran with Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday to ring in the 35th National Games, there’s a bit of running to do before a few venues are up and running. The national spectacle is poised to provide a few firsts too. But maintenance is an issue.

Published: 21st January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2015 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

Stadium.jpgAround Rs.374 crore have been pumped into sporting infrastructure in Kerala as part of the 35th National Games. But when the dust settles on the Games a few weeks from now, the question in front of the authorities will be what happens of these costly assets post-Games.

Some of the stadiums - a few already inaugurated and others at the final stages of construction - will be the first-of-its-kind sporting facilities in the state, holding out a lot of promise for the sports community.

The Trivandrum International Stadium at Kariavattom is the biggest stadium set to be opened as part of the Games built at a cost of Rs 161 crore under public-private partnership. Its constructors, IL&FS, claim that football and cricket matches can be held seamlessly in the arena once the construction is complete.

The Kerala Football Association and Kerala Cricket Association both are interested in using the facility in future with the venue capable of hosting both Indian Premier League cricket and Indian Super League football matches, apart from international contests.

The new hockey stadium at Ashramam, Kollam, is the first synthetic field hockey turf in the state and paves way for Kerala to host national level competitions.

“We are interested to host matches at the stadium and has been in touch with the government over managing the venue after the Games. We are waiting for a decision to come from the government,” said Francis K Paul, general secretary of Kerala Hockey.

Meanwhile, the pistol and rifle shooting range at Vattiyoorkavu and the trap and skeet shooting range at Kerala Police Academy, Thrissur are already gearing up to host national competitions soon after the Games.

“The 15th Kumar Surendra Singh Memorial Shooting Championship in rifle and pistol events will be held from February 10 to 16 soon after the conclusion of shooting at the National Games,” said former national shooting coach Sunny Thomas.

“We will also hold two selection trials from February 17 to select the Indian team that will participate in the three world cups going to be held this year which will in turn decide the quota of Indian shooters at Rio 2016 Olympics,” Thomas added.

Stadium5.JPGThough there are concerns regarding the progress of work at the two ranges, especially the one at Thrissur, the Dronacharya Award recipient feels Kerala can become the nerve centre for shooting events in the near future.

Meanwhile, the renovated EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode will soon host the rejuvenated Sait Nagjee Football Tournament, expected to feature the likes of Zenit St Petersburg, Boca Juniors, Corinthians SC and CA Riverplate among others in May.

Kerala sports secretary M Sivasankar said that the National Games Secretariat is preparing a comprehensive legacy plan for utilisation of sporting infrastructure coming up as part of the Games. The legendary T C Yohannan, a former Asian Games gold medallist long jumper, has already fired a stern reminder.

“We are wasting a lot of money elsewhere, but the money spent on sports is an investment to the country and its current and future generation of athletes. More than the conduct of the Games, it is important how the infrastructure prepared for the Games is used post the event,” Yohannan observed.

Trivandrum International Stadium

Where: Kariavattom

Hosts: Opening and closing ceremonies

Cost of construction: Rs.161 crore

Built by: National Games Secretariat

Final hurdle: The playing field is only being levelled, and will not be fit to host sports events any soon. Finishing work on the gallery and seating is expected to be completed in the nick of time. The construction of the approach road is also dragging on.

Takeaway: Developed as a public-private-partnership model, the stadium is designed as a multi-sport venue, conforming to the  standards prescribed by FIFA and ICC.

New Hockey Stadium

Where: Kollam

Hosts: Hockey

Cost of construction: Rs.17.55 crore

Owned by: Directorate of Sports, government of Kerala

Final hurdle : With the National Games just 10 days away, the first synthetic hockey field in the state has not received the goal posts yet. The work on fixing rubber granules and training area is still incomplete (inset). Having battled repeated delays in construction, the stadium had been in the news for all the wrong seasons. The caving in of the gallery is a case in point.

Shooting range

Where: Central Polytechnic Campus, T’Puram

Hosts: Pistol and rifle shooting

Built by: National Games Secretariat

Cost of constuction: Rs.17.1 crore

Final hurdle:

Though the shooting targets have already been installed at the site, electrical works are yet to be completed. As is the case with the approach roads

Squash court

Where: Chandrasekharan Nair

Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram

Hosts: Squash

Built by: National Games Secretariat

Cost of construction: Rs.5.5 crore

Takeaway: It is the first squash court to come up in Kerala. Equipped with facilities to host prominent tournaments, it is expected to popularise the racquet sport in Kerala.

EMS Corporation Stadium

Where: Kozhikode

Hosts: Football

Owned by: Kozhikode Corporation

Cost of renovation: Rs.21 crore

Final hurdle: Work on the grand stand, which houses the main pavilion, is still trailing. While the playing field is ready, the adjoining areas are only being levelled.

Takeaway: Will be available to host top-class football matches




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