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Ready, one, two... get back on track

Hopes of Jamshedpur attracting big-ticket athletics events have put on running shoes with Tata Steel deciding to relay the polyurethane synthetic track at JRD Tata Sports Complex.

Laid in 1993, the track was upgraded to international standards in 2003, but has worn out and become unfit to host big-ticket athletics championships. The sports hub last hosted the 47th Open National Athletic Championships (ONAC) in 2007.

The cost of relaying the track will be around Rs 4 crore.

On Friday morning, two vendors from New Delhi and Mumbai visited the JRD complex to inspect the track-laying venue and later held talks with Tata Steel sports department head Padma Shri Charles Borromeo, who had won 800m gold for India at the 1982 Asiad.

“We are talking to six separate vendors who are representing different foreign firms. We will shortly fix a vendor to relay the track. We hope the relaying process completes in October,” Borromeo told The Telegraph.

“The vendors are all approved by the Union sports ministry. We are holding talks with only those vendors duly recognised and approved by the ministry,” Borromeo added.

A source in the Tata Steel sports department revealed they would approach the central ministry with the request to bear a percentage of the Rs 4 crore needed to relay the synthetic track.

On the components of the track, he said: “A mixture of polyurethane, black and red rubber will be used. The layers would be 4mm thick. It is labour-intensive work.”

Technicians from US-based firm SRI Sports had laid the present track, modelled on the lines of the one existing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A sports department functionary said that they were looking forward to the relaid tracks. “The track played host national fitness camp for junior athletes in April 2005. National preparatory camps for senior athletes were conducted at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in 2005 and 2006. ONAC was hosted in 2007. Now, we can again look forward to organising prominent athletics events. We shied away from hosting national events due to the poor condition of the track,” he said.