The 43rd National Athletics Championship is being held at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram, the first time in 14 years that the national meet is being held outside the capital and also on grass. And the championship has already garnered criticism from athletes even though the organisers have defended their decision.
On the second day of the three-day meet, athletes have complained that they are facing difficulties adjusting to uneven grass pitch after having trained on synthetic track round-the-year.
Bangladesh Biman’s Abdur Rahim, who finished fourth in 1500m race yesterday, said none of the athletes have been able to show their natural performance due to the surface being uneven and soft.
“We always train on synthetic track. When the athletes learnt that the events will be held on grass surface and the records will not be official, everyone got disheartened,” Rahim told The Daily Star.
The same team’s Rajibul Islam, who finished third in long jump event, echoed the same sentiment.
Chattogram Jela Krira Shangstha’s athletics committee chairman and the co-chairman of the organising committee of the championship, Mozammel Haque, though said, “Due to budget constraints this championship is not being held on synthetic track, which is why the records are not official.”
However, he claimed that taking the event to Chattogram will help decentralise the sport and will encourage local clubs and organisers to come to athletics.
Bangladesh Athletics Federation’s general secretary Abdur Rkib Montu claimed no one has made any official complaint as yet. “Athletes are trained on both synthetic and natural surface. No one has complained to us yet.”
When drawn his notice about two athletes getting injured, Montu said that this is a regular occurrence in athletics and it has nothing to do with the surface.
“If we had to install a synthetic track on this ground, we would need Tk 10 crore. And that is a jurisdiction of the sports ministry. We have a budget of only Tk 29 lakhs and we are trying our best to do our job with this money,” said Montu.