Crime
The anterior portion of the 400 m track has been destroyed due to constant erosion is dotted with potholes.

Bengaluru’s Kanteerava stadium is riddled with potholes. The synthetic athletic track in the stadium resembles the city’s streets, infamous for its crater-sized depressions. The ill-maintained track has eroded in several spots, making it difficult for athletes to train.

The anterior portion of the 400 m track has been destroyed due to constant erosion and is dotted with potholes.

According to the coaches at Kanteerava Stadium, the tracks have not been maintained properly since 2006, and despite several requests made to the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, the government has not allocated funds for it.

“The tracks are made of synthetic materials and it is very useful. The shelf life of a synthetic track is three years and if the track is maintained properly, it can last for five years. But these tracks were badly kept since day one,” a coach said on condition of anonymity.

The stadium got its first track in 1997 when the National Athletic Games were held at Kanteerava. However, the tracks were not maintained properly and finally in 2006, new tracks were laid. By 2013, the tracks were once again in a bad shape and the state government had only carried out maintenance work to fix the eroded parts and also fill the craters.

“Since 2013, the tracks have deteriorated. Synthetic tracks need to be watered and maintained properly by technical experts. The tracks needed to be scrubbed and washed properly. Since this did not happen, dust and mud accumulated. This led to growth of algae. The bunds along the sides of the tracks have been destroyed too, because they have not been maintained for years,” the coach added.

Speaking to TNM, K Srinivas, the Commissioner of the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, said that tenders have been called for so new tracks can be laid.

“Recently, a lot of resources have gone into the renovation of the football stadium. We have floated tenders so new tracks can be laid out at Kanteerava. The work will begin within a couple of months. Regarding maintenance of the tracks, the stadium authorities have not brought it to our notice,” he said.

However, members of the Karnataka Athletics Association (KAA) lament that once the new tracks are laid, the government needs to issue a maintenance contract to ensure that the tracks do not crumble and develop potholes again.

“The government has neglected Kanteerava Stadium time and again. Once in five or ten years they will fix whatever has been destroyed. If athletes need to practice properly, they need good facilities. Once the tracks are laid, they need to hire people to clean the tracks and ensure that debris and dust do not accumulate,” the KAA member said.