There is a sudden spike in interest in athletics - thanks to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. However, instead of using this opportunity to raise interest levels of sports enthusiasts, office bearers in government training centres are engaged in a bitter wrangle for use of facilities.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which runs an athletics promotion scheme for aspiring athletes, has alleged that the Delhi government is not allowing its trainees to train in its games arenas - the Thyagaraj Sports Complex and Chhatrasal Stadium. DDA’s scheme was launched in 2002 to select athletes with potential from various school and district competitions and award them a monthly scholarship of Rs. 3600.
Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, advisor for DDA’s scheme, says the trainees have only two venues for practice - the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the CWG Village Sports Complex.
“We used to go to the Thyagaraj Sports Complex, but suddenly we were barred from there without a reasonable explanation.”
Though he has written to the education department of the Delhi government for access to more training facilities, Randhawa claims nothing has been done, and he plans to write to the Education Minister about this.
When contacted, the education department of the Delhi administration said the stadium already had a lot of trainees and adding more would lead to chaos. Says a senior officer on conditions of anonymity, “DDA spent crores on the CWG Village Sports Complex, which is lying unused. It has fabulous sports venues and a synthetic track too. Why is DDA using our resources?”
Officials at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which comes under the Sports Authority of India (SAI), are not happy letting DDA use its infrastructure for the scholarship scheme.
“We have just two synthetic tracks in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to train 200 people. We would not have raised any objections if DDA did not have any sports facilities but it’s unfair to let such world-class sports complexes rot. The complex is not even open to the public,” says a Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium official who did not want to be named.
The training centres are miffed with DDA’s scheme because it (DDA) picks promising kids trained by these centres and lures them with scholarships.