GUJRAT: Gakhar Sports Complex in Gujranwala lacks resources for the maintenance of grounds and other installations.
Machinery to keep the hockey ground’s AstroTurf clean is not available. The sitting steps, digital scoreboards, open gym and a swimming pool are badly needed at the venue. There are also complaints that there is no certified coach to help sport lovers.
The sports complex was established on a piece of land owned by the education department along the main GT Road in Gakhar Mandi, a small town of Gujranwala.
The project was launched by the then Punjab chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif, on the recommendation of army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in his ancestral town at a cost of Rs400 million in 2016-17. It was inaugurated by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in March this year after which the players started to use the facility.
The sports arena has nine venues for cricket, hockey, badminton, lawn tennis, basketball (indoor and outdoor), handball, volleyball and athletics. Cricket, hockey and badminton are the most played games at the venue whereas volleyball, basketball and lawn tennis are also regularly played by the players from Gakhar, Wazirabad, Rahwali and other adjoining rural areas.
The complex lacks wrestling arena which is a favourite game of the people of Gujranwala and they demand that a facility be provided to them.
Some players complain about a lack of resources for maintenance of the AstroTurf which, they fear, may be damaged for not being properly cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The motor meant for watering the turf before the game starts has also been out of order for long. They staff, they say, hardly bothers about watering the turf manually.
The sitting steps or spectator stands are also required besides certified coaches for each game to groom the young players. They demand a proper maintenance of the sport complex to save it from loss.
It is learnt that the Punjab government has recently approved Rs80 million to provide the missing facilities at the complex.
Ali Haider, administrator of the sports complex, said the Punjab Sports Board had already been asked to provide a coach for every game and academies for cricket, hockey and badminton might also be established for the training of teenage players.
Asked about the watering set of the AstroTurf, he said the machinery had a 10-year warranty and it had been referred to the authorities in the sports board to have the machinery rectified. He said the sport complex would help produce players of international standards from the region as the facility would gradually improve.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2021