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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Some kids don’t even have a track to practice, says Satish Uchil, general secretary, MAA

Satish Uchil, general secretary and spokesperson of Maharashtra Athletics Association (MAA), said the state athletics championship 2019 can, and even, must be held on mud tracks.

pune Updated: Aug 14, 2019 16:35 IST
Oumar Aga
Oumar Aga
Hindustan Times, Pune
Athletes practice for junior athletic tournament at government sports complex in Sangli. MAA spokesperson said authorities should consider cities beyond Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik, like Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Beed where athletes don’t even have a normal mud track and still they participate in tournaments, and win also.
Athletes practice for junior athletic tournament at government sports complex in Sangli. MAA spokesperson said authorities should consider cities beyond Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik, like Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Beed where athletes don’t even have a normal mud track and still they participate in tournaments, and win also. (UDAY DEOLEKAR/HT)
         

Satish Uchil, general secretary and spokesperson of Maharashtra Athletics Association (MAA), shares his view on the state athletics championship 2019.

There are numerous districts in Pune with synthetic tracks. Why was this tournament kept on a mud track in Sangli?

We expect a little over thousand children to participate in the tournament. To accommodate that big a number, we will require a stadium like Balewadi, but it is unavailable on those dates. The tournament can’t be carried out on any other track in Pune due to lack of proper equipment and facilities. At the Pune university track, too, they have so many restrictions. If the event shifts to Ratnagiri, we will face another challenge as there will be no arrangements for steeplechase and pole vault. These two events will have to be held elsewhere.

Don’t you think it is a little risky for athletes, who are accustomed to synthetic tracks, to run on a mud track?

There are some places in Maharashtra where kids don’t even have a track to practice on, yet they are training with whatever facilities available. We should not exclusively consider cities like Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik. We should also think about what happens in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Beed. In some of these places, the athletes don’t even have a normal mud track and still they participate, and they win too. Even last year, we hosted the tournament on a mud track in Nagpur. According to me, state meets should travel all over Maharashtra, and it should not be restricted to only five districts where the facility is excellent.

Why didn’t any of the districts come forward to host the tournament?

The MAA sits with all the district athletics authorities at the start of every season and together we decide which events will happen where. We ask these districts to volunteer for the tournaments they want to host. There were no volunteers who came forward to host this state-level selection tournament and that is why we kept the senior state selection in Mumbai and the other one in Sangli. We had no accommodation facilities in Mumbai, but we had to do it there, because there was no alternative as no other district came forward.

Why are these district athletics associations hesitating to volunteer?

It’s due to lack of funds. To generate funds, they should have a source, but unfortunately they don’t, due to which they cannot afford to host tournaments. The other reason is because of the damage caused to tracks. They cannot risk volunteering for a tournament if their equipment and tracks are damaged.

Does MAA have no authority to command these district associations to host a tournament?

We can ask them to host a tournament, but if they don’t do it, what can we do? They say that they are not in the position to host a tournament. We cannot force anybody. Hiring a track costs around ₹50,000 per day. Accommodation costs about ₹500 per room. The total cost soars way above their budget. It is their duty to come up with a fund generation system, only then, will it be possible for them to host multiple tournaments.

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 16:40 IST

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