Punjab Football Stadium: tartan track in shambles

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LAHORE, Aug 27 (APP): Scores of athletes, footballers and
young talent have been deprived of sporting facilities as
Punjab Football Stadium has been in shambles for last fifteen
months due to negligence of the Punjab Sports Board (PSB).
The gates of the Punjab Football Stadium were closed on
the sportsmen and general public in May 2016 as the tartan track
was dug up for replacement which rendered the football pitch
in accessible as well.
The tartan track was planned to be replaced in 2-3 months
but the work lingered on for over 15 months.
The Football Stadium, in the past, served as the only
sports facility with a tartan track (artificial synthetic
running track) where hundreds of athletes from various
departments and educational institutions practiced daily to
harness their skills. The football pitch groomed raw talent but
it has been out of bounds now.
Responding to a query, Director General (DG) PSB Zulfiqar
Ghumman highlighted that he had expedited the process and an
order had been placed with a German manufacturer of tartan
track a month ago, adding that it would not take more than two
months to install tartan track under the supervision of
foreign experts as per international standards.
DG Ghumman said he had rectified different faults and the
track had been extended to eight lanes,besides bedding in a
drainage system. He said the surface was all ready for the
track to be reinstalled.
The national athletes who are forced to practice on grass
tracks find the closure of the facility detrimental to their
careers as no other options were available to them within the
city precincts.
Asad Ali, 13 times national athletic champion in 400 meter
who represented the country in Islamic Games as well, told APP
on Sunday that he had to travel to Islamabad for practice as
no tracks were available in the city, adding that female
athletes were out of practice as they could not travel out of
city.
The national champion alleged that PSB only provided lip
service and had failed in re-laying the tartan track despite a
lapse of one and half year, adding that a similar tartan track
was laid in few months by the local administration in
Faisalabad.
Another WAPDA footballer/athlete Shafaqat Ali said it was
tale of broken promises and Punjab Football Stadium did not
appear to be on the priority list of PSB.
This stadium used to serve as a sporting venue for school
and college students who were exposed to sports at a tender
age. The exposure to a rare sporting facility helped in
promotion of sports culture in the provincial capital.