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Athletes forced to leave government-run stadium so IAS officer can walk dog

Firstpost logo Firstpost 26-05-2022 FP Staff
Athletes forced to leave government-run stadium so IAS officer can walk dog © Provided by Firstpost Athletes forced to leave government-run stadium so IAS officer can walk dog

Athletes and coaches, who train at the Delhi government-run Thyagraj Stadium, have a common complaint. Over the past few months, they have been forced to wrap up training sessions by 7 pm, that is earlier that usual. The reason? To make space for Delhi’s Principal Secretary (Revenue) Sanjeev Khirwar to walk his dog at the facility.

“We used to train till 8-8.30 pm under lights earlier. But now, we are asked to leave the ground by 7 pm so that the officer can walk his dog on the ground. Our training and practice routine has been disrupted,” said a coach to The Indian Express.

Khirwar, a 1994-batch IAS officer, has rubbished the allegations, saying they are “absolutely incorrect”. However, he accepted that he “sometimes” takes his pet for a walk at the staidum, but denied that it disrupted the practice routine of athletes.

Built in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games, the complex attracts state and national-level athletes.

Upon inspection, The Indian Express found that on three evenings over the past week, stadium guards started blowing whistles near the track around 6.30 pm, ensuring it was cleared by 7 pm.

Ajit Chaudhary, stadium administrator, said that the stadium's official evening timings were 4 to 6 pm but because of the heat, athletes were allowed to train until 7 pm. He did not share the official order on the timing.

Speaking to India Today, Chaudhary said, "The official time for athletes to train is till 7 pm. After that, the coaches and athletes leave," he said. He declined to confirm or deny whether Khirwar was using the facility.

The parent, coaches and athletes spoke to The Indian Express on condition of anonymity.

The coaches and athletes say they have to train earlier in the heat since practice has to be wrapped up early. “Earlier, we continued training till 8.30 pm and sometimes even 9 pm but now we have no option. Earlier, I took water breaks once every half-hour. Now I need a drink every five minutes,” said a junior athlete.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed all state-run sports facilities in the city to stay open for sportspersons until 10 pm, his deputy Manish Sisodia said on Thursday.

The direction came after a media report that the Thyagraj Stadium was being closed for sports activities earlier than usual so that an IAS officer could walk his dog at the facility.

With inputs from agencies

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