• Monday, Nov 30, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:23 am

Long cry for an athletic turf

  • Published at 12:34 am February 28th, 2020
Athletics
The damaged turf at Bangabandhu National Stadium, pictured Thursday Dhaka Tribune/Shishir Hoque

Ahead of the 9th Bangladesh Games, named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to mark the birth centenary of the Father of the nation, scheduled to be held from April 1-10, Bangladesh Athletics Federation has “no option” but to hold their track events at the BNS despite the growing risk of injuries

It’s been around six years the athletic turf of Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka started being in dire straits with holes being uncovered from time to time.

Since then, continuous neglect saw hundreds of patchworks surfacing on the 400m track.

Ahead of the 9th Bangladesh Games, named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to mark the birth centenary of the Father of the nation, scheduled to be held from April 1-10, Bangladesh Athletics Federation has “no option” but to hold their track events at the BNS despite the growing risk of injuries.    

Last month’s National Athletics Championship was held in Chittagong without any turf for the first time in 14 years due to the poor conditions of the BNS turf.

Reminding this, BAF general secretary Abdul Rakib Mintu said, “We have been informing this to National Sports Council many times before that the track has expired but now we have no options but to hold the athletics events on three days (April 2-4) in some way.

“There are two more turfs but the one at Army Stadium is not better than the BNS,” Montu added before replying to different query of the status of Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan where a new turf was installed last year, “BKSP is an institution. Why would we go there? It’s also away from the city because we have to think about the accommodation and transport also.”

The BNS turf makes for grim viewing Dhaka Tribune/Shishir Hoque

It was found, during a quick walk on the BNS turf yesterday, that around 100 patchworks on the southern portion of the track while almost similar numbers with the bigger holes patched on the north side, in front of the torch gate.  

“I have not run on this track this year yet. When the turf was not good it increased the risk of injuries. It could be held at BKSP or Ansar Academy in Shafipur, those are better,” said Shirin Akter, the nine-time fastest women of the country, but Montu said the turf of Ansar Academy is not completed yet, besides, the venue is remote compared to BKSP.

The current athletics turf was installed at the expense of Tk10 crores in 2006 but it became unfit in less than a decade. 

The National Sports Council took an initiative to repair the track in 2016 but the edges of many of the patchworks have been lifted up from the surface since then.

“There is no chance to repair the turf before the BG,” said NSC secretary Masud Karim. 

He added, “Around Tk100 crores have been allocated to renovate the whole stadium. A new athletics turf will be installed during this time.”

The procedure of the renovation work is however, still at a primary stage as Shah Alam Sardar, NSC director of sports, admitted that no consultancy firm or expert has been appointed yet.

Bangladesh Olympic Association now has to find a quick solution of their own to avoid any “unexpected incidents” during the Games.

“BOA sent letters to NSC six times but to no avail. We have been repeatedly listening to the same reply from NSC that they are hiring consultant for the last one and half year,” said BOA vice-president Sheikh Bashir Ahmed after a meeting with athletics federation Thursday.

Bashir added, “We were forced to come into decision that the BOA will repair the track and other repairing works by its own funding. We will try to avoid any unexpected incidents.”

The condition of the BNS track also has reflections on the performance of athletes in the international event, especially of the track events. 

Apart from a silver in high jump and a bronze in long jump, Bangladesh couldn’t bag a single medal in the track events during the 13th South Asian Games in December last year.

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