Synthetic track still a dream for city athletes

August 10, 2021, Chandigarh

AthleticsSynthetic track


From politicians to officials everyone danced to the tunes of dhols soon after javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra created history by winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. However, when it comes to laying of a synthetic track in Chandigarh, no one is bothered to contribute.

Champions are obviously made with sheer dedication, but they need a favourable environment to blossom. Chopra was lucky enough to get the right guidance and right exposure at a right time, but that isn’t the case with many other athletes.

The case for laying the city’s first synthetic track is not new. Announcements were made on a number of times in the past but nothing moved on ground.

After making several promises, the project to lay an all-weather synthetic track made of polyurethane was finally put on paper in 2012. However, the plan remained restricted to official files for one year.

In 2013, when the film ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ – based on the life of iconic sprinter Milkha Singh – was released, the authorities restarted the process. It was decided to lay a full-fledged 10-lane track, but the lack of space forced the planners to think on a seven-lane track instead.

The Sector 46 Sports Complex was shortlisted for the project and the planning committee raised the demand for acquiring some area of the Post Graduate Government College, Sector 46, touching the boundary of the sports complex, to make enough room for the laying of the turf.

With the space being a constraint, the project was later shifted to the Sector 7 Sports Complex and an estimate of Rs 3.90 crore was submitted for laying an eight-lane synthetic turf at the site.

“Nothing has changed in Chandigarh since he (Neeraj) last played here. No development on Panjab University grounds, no development on the Sector 7 Sports Complex… it’s all the same. But when it comes to celebrating the victory, they will all rush to dance,” said an athletics coach. “Having a synthetic track is a basic need these days, but not for Chandigarh it seems,” said the coach.

Chopra participated in the 2015 Panjab University inter-college meet and before that he used to train at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula.

When this reporter tried to get a comment from Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Raj Kumar on the issue, his office replied: “Sir will think and reply.”

Chopra represented DAV College at the same PU grounds and nothing has changed since then, apart from fencing the arena. The same is the case with the Sector 7 Sports Complex.

In 10 years, Chopra with his determination could win a gold medal for the country in the Olympics, but the authorities concerned couldn’t ensure a synthetic track for city athletes.

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