THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The gymnastics trainees who were practising in the unhygienic surroundings of the Kerala Olympic Association (KOA) office building at Vanross Junction here will have a new place to fine tune their skills from Friday.
The decision to move out the training of around 25 national-level gymnasts from the dilapidated building to Central Stadium comes two days after the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights issued a notice for housing children in unhygienic conditions.
“As the Commission’s office is right next to the KOA building, we could see the condition over there daily. We see heaps of garbage in one side and the water from the sewage pooling in front of the building,” Neela Gangadharan, Chairperson of the Commission, said.
The building, inaugurated in 1955 by the then chief minister of Travancore-Cochin Panampilly Govinda Menon, was a training centre for the young gymnasts of the city for over four years, despite its pathetic condition, after the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium was closed down for renovation.
“The facilities were poor and we felt that the building could have come down any moment. During rains, the concrete pieces fell from the roof and the rooms got flooded,” one of the trainees said.
Taking all this into account, the Commission for Protection of Child Rights had issued a notice to the Sports and Youth Affairs Director, Kerala State Sports Council secretary and Kerala Olympic Association president.
The Commission had noted that the children were given sports training without ensuring safety for them and without removing a tree that fell over the building in the last rains and asked the officials concerned to submit a report within 15 days.
And it looks like that has forced the Sports Council to act swiftly. “We had submitted a complaint to the Council about the problems we face here and a couple of days ago the Sports Council president asked us to shift from the KOA building to Central Stadium,” Madhu Kumar, head gymnastics coach, said.
Sports Council secretary Binu George Varghese said that they are yet to receive the notice from the Commission. “We were planning to renovate the building but the KOA had assured us they would do it. We will soon move the gymnasts to Jimmy George Indoor Stadium,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, KOA president M M Abdur Rahiman said that they have submitted a plan to the government to rebuild the office and are awaiting funding from the Indian Olympic Association.