Civic officials, when they threw open a sports complex earlier this year, had claimed the ground would serve as a boon for Mumbra's young athletes. These claims, however, have been proved to be rubbish, and we mean that literally, as a report in this paper has revealed. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) is now using the ground as a scrap yard and sportspersons have little to no access to it.
The ground lies littered with discarded hoarding material, broken iron grilles and other scrap items. In this report, sportspersons complained that they are allowed access to the ground only for a few hours in the morning. So, obviously, their dreams of training in Mumbra, instead of travelling to Thane each time, have been dashed.
The stadium boasts of impressive infrastructure. It is spread over 16 acres and has an eight-lane 400m synthetic athletics track, an indoor badminton hall with four courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a tennis court, a basketball court, a volleyball court, yoga, carrom and chess hall. It also has a sports library for students.
So, it's difficult to understand why it hasn't been thrown open for athletes, four months after its inauguration. Who needs such an expensive scrap yard?
The authorities are citing feeble excuses that some electrical work is pending. We make grandiose plans to become a multi-sport powerhouse. We cluck in disgust when our athletes return empty-handed from an international competition. But the ground reality is full of rubbish. We need to change the grassroots situation before aspiring for Olympic medals.
Give our sportspersons the tools they require to make India a multi-sporting superpower. Then, it makes sense to train our sights on the Olympic podium.
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