Synthetic turf at Shilaroo is a waste of money: experts

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Patiala, Jul 16 (UNI) Eyebrows are being raised on the utility of Rs 353 lakh synthetic hockey turf being laid by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) at the SAI High Altitude Training Centre at Shilaroo in Shimla.

A former chief hockey coach at the NIS here, who requested anonymity, told UNI that ''Sports disciplines like, athletics, boxing, wrestling, judo and so forth are good enough for training at Shilaroo. It is also aptly suited for recovery and physical fitness.

But for field hockey, a synthetic turf at Shilaroo is just a waste of public money as during winter, Shimla is excessively cold and there can be no hockey camp and training at Shilaroo between September and March.'' ''For seven months or so, the turf will remain unutilised. One, therefore, cannot see any logic in SAI's impractical decision to lay a synthetic hockey turf at Shilaroo, which involves huge money,''he said.

It would have been prudent if the synthetic turf was laid in Hamirpur or Nahan in Himachal Pradesh as Hamirpur had produced such hockey greats like Charanjit Singh and Deepak Thakur, and Nahan has abundant hockey talent.

It has been also alleged that SAI is laying the turf without soliciting the opinions of hockey experts abreast of the technicalities involved, and hockey coaches who are capable of gauging its feasibility.

The Chairman of the IOA's Ad Hoc hockey committee, Aslam Sher Khan, told UNI on phone from New Delhi yesterday that ''SAI has not sought our opinion in this context before embarking on such an ambitious venture.'' UNI XC PS AB KN1901

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