Bangalore: Some 1,800 athletes are expected to participate in the five-day 29th Junior National Athletics Championships commencing at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here Tuesday though the conditions are far from ideal.
There is justifiable anxiety ahead of the competition in the four age-groups (Under-20, 18, 16, 14) for both boys and girls as the conditions at the Stadium are not exactly pristine.
A portion of the synthetic track is damaged due to what the authorities claim recent heavy rains while the shot put and hammer throw areas require repairs.
At a Media briefing here last week, Karnataka Amateur Athletics Association president G Parameswara admitted that the conditions were far from satisfactory even as he hoped that the Stadium would be spruced up in time for the event.
The iconic venue was upgraded in 1997 at considerable cost, but has often hosted non-sporting events such as political rallies causing damage to the track while lack of upkeep has also contributed to the degeneration of the facilities.
However, a big incentive for the participants would be that athletes who excel here, will be selected for the national junior camps and thereafter to next year’s Asian junior championships in Chinese-Taipei and the World junior championships at Eugene, United States.
Kerala would be looking to defend their title and in this connection, they have sent a 199-strong contingent while hosts Karnataka will be fielding 148 athletes besides strong representations from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Over the next five days, 125 events will be contested.