Broken weightlifting platforms, seepage: Gurugram’s oldest stadium in dire need of repair
The damaged platforms have caused injuries to several weightlifters over the past few years. A couple of weightlifters have had to quit the sport due to their injuries, while others practice with extreme caution, players said.gurgaon Updated: Feb 14, 2019 15:32 IST
The Nehru Stadium in Civil Lines, the oldest stadium in Gurugram, hasn’t undergone any major renovation since it was built in 1955, according to members of staff. On a visit to the stadium on Tuesday, Hindustan Times found the interiors of the complex in ruins, with cracked walls that show signs of seepage, and equipment in abject condition, often causing injuries.
“Weightlifters in the stadium have been practising on platforms that haven’t been replaced in more than 12 years,” said Suresh Sharma, district weightlifting coach, who has 30 players under him.
“The two platforms that we have are broken and need to be replaced. The rubber has come off in both. We have been filling it with sawdust to make do, and have been repairing at our own expense,” Sharma said, adding that they demand new equipment every year from the district sports officer, but to no avail.
The damaged platforms have caused injuries to several weightlifters over the past few years. A couple of weightlifters have had to quit the sport due to their injuries, while others practice with extreme caution, players said.
Other sports in the stadium too either don’t have necessary equipment, or use old equipment. According to several gymnasts, the gymnastics poles haven’t been replaced since 1995 — the last time equipment was purchased for the stadium — and have developed cracks.
Weightlifting at Nehru Stadium is practised in a dingy room with broken window panes and cobwebs abound. “No fan in the room used to work. We got them repaired ourselves. The temperature needs to be kept optimum during practices, but due to the lack of an air conditioner or a cooler, it gets very hot in summers,” Mani Yadav, a former weightlifter who now trains students at the stadium, said.
It must be noted that Haryana produces some of country’s best weightlifters and wrestlers who have won medals for India on platforms including the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. These include Rohtak’s Sakshi Malik, who won bronze at the Commonwealth Games, 2010, and is the first Indian woman wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics, when she won broze in Rio 2016. Olympics silver medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar is another from Haryana, and is the only Indian to have won two individual Olympic medals.
Hockey players said they have been facing a shortage of hockey sticks for several years now.
The stadium, run by the state government, has a hockey turf that is in a bad shape and needs to be repaired, as well as a gymnastics ground and a volleyball ground. Other sports practised there include handball, weightlifting, korfball and wushu.
On top of it all, the 64-seat sports hostel had to be closed around three years ago because it had become inhabitable, said members of staff. “There is leakage from the walls, the window panes are broken. Even some pillars in the hostel are broken,” said a sportsperson who used to live in the hostel earlier, and did not want to be named.
As a result of the hostel closing, he now has to live in a rented accommodation in the city which is beyond his means, he said, and has to pick up odd jobs on a daily basis to make ends meet.
Raj Yadav, district sports officer, said the coaches haven’t sent a list of requirements to her and when they do so, their demands will be met. However, the coaches said demands have been made several times in the past.
“A sum of Rs 34.72 lakh was approved in January this year by the district administration to repair parts of the building, and work is expected to start in the coming few weeks,” she said. However, no plans are underway currently to renovate either the hostel or to replace the equipment.
Gurugram has only two stadia currently — the Nehru Stadium and Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Sector 38. Both of them provide facilities for separate sports, which means that players have to rely on one stadium for all their needs.
First Published: Feb 14, 2019 15:32 IST