THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Positive open spaces and recreational areas in the city have driven sports enthusiasts to use artificial turfs, which are currently mushrooming in the city. Floodlights, adequate playing facilities, flexible timing and international quality pitches are a few reasons that give artificial turfs an edge over stadiums.
According to a corporation official, only the Sri Chithira Thirunal ground in Poojappura under the
corporation is used as a public playing ground. Other stadiums such as the Chandrasekharan Nair stadium and the University stadium can only be accessed only during certain intervals. These factors have made investing in artificial turfs a profitable venture. However, the quality of these turfs has raised several questions.
Chairperson of the Athletes’ Commission Anju Bobby George said that a multi-purpose turf she had visited used a certain type of paint instead of artificial grass as the top layer. “The paint created a kind of cushioning effect,” she said. “We recommend playing on natural grass as there is always a chance to develop injuries while playing on artificial surfaces that are harder. Heavy physical activity should be practised only on properly-laid synthetic surfaces,” she said. She said that children between the age of five and twelve should avoid playing on artificial surfaces. “Children in their development stages must practice barefoot fitness training on natural surfaces like mud to develop their flexibility and strength,” she said.
Allen Thomas Koshy, physiotherapist of the Kerala U-14 football team also pointed out the limitations of artificial turf.
“Players will not be able to get a better grip on the hard surface. There is a risk of ankle and knee injuries,” he said.A lack of sports knowledge also has added to the rise in injuries. Vishnulal B M, a player said: “Most do not warm up before playing on the turf. Several turn up without appropriate sports gear,” Hafeez Farooq, a techie said its convenient timing as a major factor in its popularity. “Work gets over by 8pm. Stadiums would be closed to the public by then. Therefore, turfs are our only option,” he said.
Shankar J S, an owner of three artificial turfs in the city, commented on the public’s flock to turfs that charge lower rates.
“We have spent around R50 lakh to construct our cricket turf. There are several who spend under R12 lakh. Such turfs charge R500-600, but will be of poorer quality with a high chance of causing injuries,” he said.
Do’s and don’ts
Do not use the turf for longer durations. It is preferable to play on artificial turfs only twice or thrice a week.
Jumping exercises should be avoided on the turf.
Children between the ages of 5 and 12 are advised to play on natural grass or mud turf.