The State Cycling Championship kicked off at cycling velodrome in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) on Saturday but much to the dismay of players visiting from across the state, as the track in a pathetic condition is direct invitation to injuries.
According to the members of the Cycling Association of Ludhiana, the cycling track lacks basic standards. Cracks have appeared on the surface making it uneven, and cyclists practicing on it are vulnerable to accidents.
Rishikesh Verma, one of the participants in the state-level championship, said, "The track has major and minor cracks at various parts. Therefore it becomes difficult for a cyclist to race on it. When you are sailing at a speed of more than 90 kmph even a small crack has the potential to imbalance you and that can lead to a major accident."
The cycling velodrome at PAU was constructed by the Punjab sports department way back in 1989, but never renovated it. The officials in the sports department said that after building it, charge for the maintenance of the velodrome was given to the PAU authorities. Apart from hosting major state and national-level events, the cycling velodrome at PAU has also hosted 'Asian Cycling Championship' in 2005.
However, when approached PAU director students' welfare (DSW) Ravinder Kaur Dhaliwal said, "We have the charge of the maintenance of the cycling velodrome. We have been maintaining a required standard and will be carrying out the upgrading in a phased manner in the future too."
District sports officer (DSO) Mahender Singh said, "We have given the charge of the maintenance and major upgrading to the PAU authorities and keep a regular check on the maintenance of the infrastructure (cycling velodrome)."
While, deputy director sports Sohan Lal Lotey said, "We have handed over the maintenance charge of the velodrome to the PAU authorities. Now, it is up to them how they maintain it. If they want the sports department to take the responsibility back, then they need to propose a written agreement to the sports department, as it was done in the case of hockey turf built on the PAU premises."
An official from cycling association, who is also an all-India inter-varsity national record holder, said, "The track needs to be renovated, as even a single crack or pothole can result to an accident and cause injuries to the cyclists. If the cycle has new tyres, the chances of falling are minimal, but if the tyres are slightly older, then imbalance can lead to an accident."
No matches played
After the opening ceremony of the championship, rain played a spoilsport on day one. No matches were played, and matches will be held on Sunday.
Satwinder Singh, president and head coach of the Ludhiana District Cycle Association, said, "We will try to conduct all events by Sunday evening and if some events are left, we will conduct them on the following morning."