With expectations and hopes running high, 2,500 young bloods will line up at University Stadium and Central Stadium to prove their mettle in the 56th edition of the State Athletics Championship beginning on Tuesday.
The event has a unique place in the state’s sporting calendar as many yesteryear sporting stars were produced as a result of the gala event. The organisers are now engaged in last-minute preparations of the sporting venues. The track events will be held at University Stadium, while the throw events will be held at Central Stadium.
The University Stadium has been lying match fit as the synthetic tracks are still in good condition. But the biggest drawback that will hurt the organisers in the coming days will be the shortage of lavatories on the stadium premises. Including the ones in the gymnasium, the number lavatories will come to around 12 and this will be highly insufficient to cater to the needs of hundreds of athletes. As a temporary solution, the organisers have repaired the old bathroom for men that has been lying unused for years.
“There were only two bathrooms in the stadium but we obtained permission to use the lavatories in the gymnasium and also repaired the old one at the far side of the stadium. But it is doubtful whether that will be enough for the entire participants,” said championship welfare committee convenor A K Ajeeb.
The athletes will be provided accommodation in 17 city schools. The boys and girls will be housed separately. Participants from two districts will be housed in a school. The accommodation facility will be opened from Monday evening, when the registration starts.
The food for the participants and 500- plus officials will be prepared by veteran chef Pazhaydam Mohanan Namboodiri. The officials are expecting around 3,500 people each time in front of the dining table. The food will be served at SNV HSS. “We will provide food thrice a day in addition to snacks and tea in the evening. For lunch, traditional ‘sadya’ will be served with ‘payasam’ and for dinner, a non-vegetarian delicacy will be prepared,” said Vasantha Kumari Amma, convenor of the food committee.