Express News Service
MADIKERI: The synthetic hockey turf in Somwarpet of Kodagu district has received FIH certification and been declared fit as per international standards. While this was welcomed by hockey players across the country, who tweeted words of appreciation, the FIH certification has shocked Hockey Karnataka, the sport’s governing body in the state.
The synthetic hockey turf was sanctioned in Somwarpet in 2013 and the final funds allocated for the turf stand at Rs 4.15 crore. The turf had to be certified after the completion of all the work and the field had to meet international synthetic hockey turf requirements to avail the FIH certification. The certificate vouches for the scientific construction, performance and player welfare requirements.
However, the FIH certification has been issued even as work on the turf remains incomplete. While the synthetic turf has been neatly laid out at the arena, all the other facilities are pending. The turf requires a proper water connection and sprinkler facility.
Pipelines, drainage system, water storage system, borewell and basic facilities required by players all stand incomplete, with work in this regard having been stopped by the concerned private contractor. Yet, the FIH certification for the turf was granted on March 24.
Dr Subbaiah AB, secretary of Hockey Karnataka and member of the selection committee of Hockey India, expressed disbelief over the grant of FIH certification for the incomplete turf. “I am shocked that the turf has received FIH certification without the completion of the work. Certification is usually granted following an exhibition match and following proper testing process of ball movement. Further, it cannot be certified without a proper water facility.”
He confirmed that he has written to Shalini Rajnish, the additional chief secretary of the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports (DYES), about the faulty procedure followed by the engineer of the department in getting FIH certification for the Somwarpet hockey turf. He also assured that he would alert the DYES Commissioner in this regard.
Meanwhile, an official from the DYES stated that the department will not release the pending funds for the project until work on the turf was completed. He added that the department is not responsible for issuing the FIH certificate.