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Radhakrishnan Stadium to have new turf

By Our Hockey Correspondent



ROLL OUT THE OLD: The nine-year-old artificial turf at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium at Egmore being rolled out to make way for the new one.

CHENNAI, OCT. 19. The dream of the hockey fraternity to have a new synthetic turf at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium has come true at last. Work on dismantling the worn out surface began last week. The pitch, laid in 1995 for the South Asian Games, is being cut into eight pieces, each measuring 30 metres by 25 metres. These will be installed in different district centres for the beginners to get a feel of the synthetic surface.

Already two such pieces have been transported to Ariyalur (Perambalur) and Thanjavur, the rest will be sent shortly to Tiruchi, Padipatti (Madurai), Virudunagar, Tuticorin and Coimbatore.

Floodlights

The Stadium is being redesigned and upgraded by the Sports Authority of Tamil Nadu to prepare the venue for hosting the 2005 edition of the prestigious Champions Trophy in December. The SDAT has proposed to install what is called the megaturf by Polyton Company. An additional facility will be the floodlights conforming to international requirement for holding matches and good enough for colour television coverage.

Both in design and in terms of facilities, the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium is regarded by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) as among the best in the world. The top brass of the FIH was here in 1996 when the city played host to the Champions Trophy after successfully holding the first ever hockey event in the SAF Games. Interestingly, a packed house witnessed the India-Pakistan final, which the home team won by a very comfortable margin and took the gold medal.

This venue was put to maximum use since installation, almost every day by the State and District administration, apart from various clubs. The turf had definitely worn out in the last nine years. It is indeed thoughtful of the SDAT to relay the turf and improve the base, the drainage system and the installation of powerful sprinklers to make it a world class facility.

According to the present schedule, work on relaying the turf should gather pace from December, and the stadium will be ready for competition from the middle of January.

The IHF is planning to hold an international tournament along with the Tamil Nadu Hockey Association for the Chief Minister's Gold Cup as a test event. Even the annual Murugappa Gold Cup tournament is being planned on the new surface in the early part of 2005.

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