Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 31
To protest against the usage of the rowing arena by ‘outsiders’ at Sukhna Lake here, local rowers have written a formal complaint to the UT Sports Department.
In a 16-point letter, also in possesion with the Tribune, the local rowers have requested the officials to stop allowing rowers from other states, including Punjab, to practise here. In Punjab’s case, the local rowers’ objection is that the rowers from the neighbouring state already have a training facility in Ropar. In a major embarrassment to the UT Sports Department, when their verbal requests left unheard the rowers decided to file an objection on running parallel water sport activities here
Copies of the letter, which is signed by 14 rowers, were submitted to the offices of the District Sports Officer (DSO), Joint Director Sports and Secretary Sports.
“We have no space to practise as many trainees of the Punjab Rowing Association, Punjab Police and CRPF train here. Many others -- including trainees of the Haryana Rowing Association, ITBP and various universities — also try to train here,” said a rower.
The Punjab Rowing Association is currently run by the administrators of an ad-hoc committee. Despite representing Punjab, the rowers continue to use the Sukhna Lake arena. In 2015, the then Advisor to the Administrator had given a one-year approval to the rowers of the Punjab Rowing Association to train here. However, the rowers continue to practise here till date.
“The authorities are equally at fault in this matter. We have been requesting verbally to all the concerned authorities but to no avail. The rowing course has been already shortened to 1,000m from 2,000m, which is the national and international standard. The path, which was created temporarily for vehicular movement during the desilting of the lake, was left behind as it is,” said another rower.
“The starting line was demarcated by raising a wall and one-third of the lake is more or less occupied by tourist boats. We have to share the available space with rowers from other states,” the rower added.
The rowers also challenged the rules of the Lake Sports Complex, which allegedly allows other associations to use their equipment.
“The rules and regulations are so flexible that rowers of other universities or organisations use our equipment during their camps or championships here. Many times our equipment gets damaged and we have to repair it. We have only one coaching centre, but Punjab has one each in Ludhiana, Ropar, Pathankot and Talwara,” said a senior rower.
Meanwhile, officials of the UT Sports Department and Chandigarh Rowing Association were unavailable for comments. However, sources close to the matter confirmed that the problem raised by the rowers has been brought into the notice of the higher officials.
“We have initiated the process to look into the matter and a fact-finding committee has also been formed. Frankly, the department was unaware about this till date. The players affiliated to Chandigarh should be given preference and our coach needs to be given more powers,” said an official.
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