Mangaluru: She Said, He Said-What They All said about 19th Fed Cup Athletics Event- a Reminiscence

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“Although we took a risk in organizing this mega sports event, I am overwhelmed that everything went smoothly and successfully. Response from athletes was tremendous, and I am glad that by organizing this event here we have provided better facilities, new sports equipments, new synthetic track etc, which would be very useful in future athletic/sporting events at Mangala stadium. During my inaugural day speech I had urged the government officials to concentrate more on athletic activities by providing better sports infrastructure, modern facilities with new sporting knowledge, professional coaches and so on, for the betterment of athletes. Thank you, Mangaluru for making this event happen successfully”- G Parameshwar, President-Karnataka State Amateur Athletics Association

” Everything went on great- the weather was perfect, although we were worried that it would rain. Mother nature was on our side. I am happy with the feedback from the athletes who gave excellent remarks about the arrangements, food, accommodation and other facilities. Although the crowd didn’t show up as we had expected, but to those who patronized our first ever mega sports event, my heartfelt thanks, and we expect same kind of support and encouragement in future sporting events too. Now that Mangala stadium has the best sporting/athletic facilities, including the new track, many new sports equipment etc, I urge the athletes to make much use of these facilities to strengthen and better their sporting career. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart”- Manjunath Bhandary- President-Dakshina Kannada Athletics Association

“I am from Nelyadi Puttur, but I did not get any support from my hometown. When the national games were organized in Kerala, we received very good support from Keralites. But here, in Mangaluru the support and encouragement is very much lacking. The stadium is always empty. It was highlighted in the media that a crowd of about 20,000 was expected for the inaugural function but when I saw the stadium, I felt sad. Mangaloreans do not support athletes, they only support cricket. If there is a cricket match, people will rush to the stadium to watch it, but they don’t support any other sport the same way. If the athletes in India have to get support from the people, we need to stop playing cricket. ”-Decathlon Winner Abhishek Shetty

Mangaluru : I fully agree with the above comments made by decathlon champ Abhishek Shetty that Mangaloreans support cricket more than athletic events, as the local crowd that showed up for the 19th Federation Cup Athletic Championships 2015 was very low during the 4-day event. My presence for this event saw very poor response from Mangaloreans- other than for the inaugural and closing ceremony of the event where the spectators came in a few good numbers, but rest of the days the crowd was very low. About 1000-2000 people showed up for the entertainment evening on couple of days. Overall, I can say even though this mega event was organized for the first time in this picturesque coastal city, the response from spectators and also the athletes was between satisfactory and unsatisfactory. It could have been way much better, if localites supported this event in large numbers. Oh well, that’s how Mangaloreans are, sometimes?


The much hyped and mega sporting event, the “19th Federation Cup Senior Athletic Championships 2015” which lasted for four days ended in a grand note on Monday evening, 4 May 2015. Mangaloreans saw this mega sporting event after 28 years, when the City hosted yet another major National level athletic event, the “Open National Championships” in the year 1987. It was indeed a proud moment for this coastal town to host this mega national athletic event for the first time, since this city/district has produced great past athletes like Vandana Rao ( Sprinter / Quartermiler), Poovamma (400m), Ashwini Nachappa ( Sprinter), Sridhar Alva (Decathlete/High jumper), Anand Shetty (Sprinter), Damodar Gowda (800m), Anitha Thantri (High Jumper), Sunil Kumar shetty (Javelin Thrower), Clifford Joshua (Sprinter) and many others.

With these above great athletes bringing laurels and pride to their hometown and their nation, many new athletes like MR Poovamma, Abhishek Shetty, Sahana Kumari and many others have followed in their footsteps to bring honor and glory to their hometown. With this Federation Cup Athletic Championships taking place in Mangaluru, the locals had the opportunity to watch closely sports stars like Tintu Luka ( Incheon Asian Games Silver Medalist/Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist in 800m), Shameer (Commonwealth 2010 Bronze medalist in 400×100 relay) and many others, but were disappointed since they were not able to watch-Vikas Gowda ( Asian Games Silver medalist), KT Irfan ( 20km walk National record holder), Arpinder Singh ( Commonwealth Games men’s triple jump bronze medalist), Mayookha Johny from Kerala ( national record holder in women’s triple jump) and many others- since they didn’t show up either due to their injuries or other reasons.

With this event, Mangala Stadium did get an extreme makeover with the dilapidated structures being remodelled, refurbishment of seating space, new sanitation facilitations and aesthetic lawn, the Dakshina Kannada District Athletics Association (DKDAA) just converted the renovated erstwhile pavilion at Mangala Stadium, in to an activity center for athletes using the stadium. The renovated center served as the Anti-Dope Testing Center that National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), the erstwhile pavilion which was in a state of disuse and used as a storage room for sports material, but now totally refurbished as part of the overall stadium refurbishment project taken up for the event, the renovated building apart from Anti-Dope Testing Center during the event, will be now used for the purpose of promoting athletics, where athletes can learn more about their sport. The pavilion, post Federation Cup will have a library, and plans are afoot to have an audio visual room where athletes can view videos and other study material related to their sports.

The entire city was decked up with hoardings, banners, posters etc announcing about the sporting event. A Warm-up ground for athletes near the stadium has been built at a estimated cost of Rs 20 lakh- A new compound wall and a strong gate has already been built around this practicing ground, to avoid unwanted intruders.. The new synthetic track at the stadium has been rectified. A separate bore-well has been sunk and water from this bore-well free of chlorine will be used to sprinkle water on the synthetic. New sports materials worth around Rs 60 lakh purchased for the event will be used for athletic activities.

The four-day event cost around Rs 1.50 crore, of which the state government pitched in Rs 1 crore. The remaining amount was generated through donations from public sector undertakings, major private industrial units, public sector banks, deemed universities, builders, other private companies and so on. MCC contributed nearly Rs 20 lakh. About Rs 25 lakh was spent on 300 hotel rooms to accommodate the athletes, officials and guests; Rs 10 lakh was spent on publicity, Rs 22 lakh alone was spent on inaugural day ceremony, are some of the expenses list.

Now that the First ever 4-day Mega Sporting Event ended in a grand note, I was curious to find out from the concerned authorities behind this event, and also from the athletes their thoughts and views on 19th Federation Cup Senior Athletic Championships 2015. Here are a few comments, pro and cons on the just concluded event :

M R Poovamma of Mangaluru representing ONGC who had won the gold medal by completing 400m run in 53.41s said,

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“My main aim is to get a medal in the Olympics. I have been competing with Tintu Luka since 2011, and she has been a good competition for me; I have improved by competing with her. The climate here is hot but very humid, I could not warm-up properly. I ran for my Mangaluru fans who have been anxiously waiting to see me run. I need to compliment the organizers for the best arrangements, field facilities like the new synthetic track and all other facilities that the athletes needed during their participation. Three cheers to the committee members. I have no complaints, than to praise the people behind this great event”.

Decathlon winner Abhishek Shetty said :

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“I am from Nelyadi Puttur, but I did not get any support from my hometown. When the national games were organized in Kerala, we received very good support from Keralites. But here, in Mangaluru the support and encouragement is very much lacking. The stadium is always empty. It was highlighted in the media that a crowd of about 20,000 was expected for the inaugural function but when I saw the stadium, I felt sad. Mangaloreans do not support athletes, they only support cricket. If there is a cricket match, people will rush to the stadium to watch it, but they don’t support any other sport the same way. If the athletes in India have to get support from the people, we need to stop playing cricket”.

When asked about the stadium track, Abhishek said, “I was not interested to take part in the 19th Federation Cup because the synthetic track is not up to the mark. Today, when I was running on the track, I stepped on a stone and was slowed down, with the spikes on while running at high speed, if you step on small stones, it makes you lose your balance and slows you down affecting the results. Another athlete has also injured his hamstring. The track is hard. There is no proper maintenance and the quality of the track is very poor. The track was not even cleaned after the stage programme. If we participate in such tracks, we will not be able to qualify for any international events.”

G Laxmanan (ARMY) who had won the gold medal in the 10km men’s race.(This is the second gold medal that he has won in this year’s Federation Cup) said :


” The weather in Mangaluru is warm and humid, I felt too rigid during my running. Hospitality provided by the host was excellent, food was great and above all, everyone is friendly in this coastal town. I would love to come back here if there is any athletic event. I request to Mangaloreans is that they should next time come in large numbers and cheer us with their applauds. The crowd here has been kind of low during couple of days-hope it will get better next time”

Manager of the Indian Army team, Colonel Prabhu said:

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“The hospitality of Mangaluru is wonderful. According to me, the organizers of this year have been the best so far. Even though this is the first time they are organising this event, they have made excellent arrangements. In national championships, you need to look after the athletes, who are the real ambassadors of such events, the officials, the quality of food and accommodation for them. The organizers have done this job exceptionally well. The weather here is a bit humid, but should not be a problem as it is applicable to everyone here. Normally the human body performs better under humid conditions. We can’t blame the organizers for the weather conditions-it’s the nature’s choice. Great job by the organizers”.

Secretary of the Athletics Federation of India, CK Valson said:

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” I am very much satisfied and happy how the event was conducted and the arrangements were made, that mangaluru has the potential to host such kind of events in future and I will show very much interest in having more sporting,athletic events here at Mangala Stadium. With the new synthetic track and various other new facilities, including new sports materials, local athletes can avail all these facilities/benefits to improve their sporting career. What was lacking this time was video walls and few other basic facilities, which I will see that all these required things are installed before the next event. Other than that the whole show went on good and excellent without any problems. A job well done by the organizers, volunteers and athletes”

High jumper Sahana Kumari of Mangaluru who had won gold in High Jump event said :


“I am not happy with my performance this time, it does not qualify me to take part in the Asian games. This is the worst performance in my life since I was able to achieve only 1.80 m. Compared to my old record of 1.92 m, today’s performance is the worst, I will surely try to improve my performance. I only wish our sports authorities provide us better facilities and all the other sports infrastructure needed for us to be better athletes. Since two years I have been practicing on my own without a coach. I only hope the sports federation will take care of us the same way they pamper cricket stars. I am happy with the arrangements here-it could have been better, but I have no specific complaints. Great organizing by the committee members”.

1500 m Fourth place winner, Jhuma from Calcutta said :

” Excellent arrangement, sumptuous and tasty Mangalorean and South Indian food, friendly committee members and Mangaloreans in general – Other than that I have nothing negative to say about this prestigious event. All I can say among the past National events that i participated, i think this nis the best, no hassles, no problems”.

110 m Hurdles Fourth place winner, Aneesh from Maharashtra said :

” Since two years I have taken part in Fed Athletic Championships, but this year Mangaluru has done a excellent and unbelievable job in putting up this event, to the sheer satisfaction of all my colleagues, and probably rest of the athletes too. Hospitality, food, transportation to our lodging was well taken care off. All that we athletes lack is support from the government, we need better sporting infrastructure, better sporting knowledge, added to that, also financial support.”

Russian origin, Dimitri- a Sprint coach from Bengaluru said :

“Excellent stadium- I am happy that all the events started in time, technical officials were all great, organizing team members were very helpful and friendly, hospitality and food arrangements were fantastic. My only frustrations during the event days was that to bear with too many media photographers moving around everywhere, in between the tracks, blocking the view of the judges/spectators etc-next time the organizers should restrict to only a few media personal on the field; also catering crew were interrupting during the event by serving food/drinks. Other than that,Great event par excellence!”.

Nilesh Pathak- Maharashtra Athletics Coach said :

” Kudos to the DKAA and other committee members for the best arrangements, fine hospitality, excellent South Indian and DK menu, and medical facilities to the athletes. Although at first the new synthetic track was slippery due to rain water that seeped in, but the organizers took care of the safety hazard issue. The warm-up track was new and well-maintained, and was of great use for the athletes. We will surely come back to Mangaluru, for future athletic events”.

Dutch coach Hugo Vanden Broek- athlete trainer from Bhopal said :

“Thanks for the thoughtful interview that you did on me for It was nicely written. I am very happy to be here in Mangaluru- great place, great stadium with all new facilities. You Mangaloreans are also very friendly, helpful and courteous- thank you all for making my stay in Mangaluru a memorable one. I have nothing to complaint, than to simply praise the excellent arrangements, lodging and boarding facilities, transportation etc provided to us by the organizers. Since there was no time for any sight seeing of Mangaluru and DK, I will be back with my wife someday in the future.”

High Jump Silver Medalist, Mallika Mondal from West Bengal said :

“Above all other facilities provided by the organizers, I loved the authentic coastal and South Indian food. Only problem was the weather which was not only hot but humid. My only request to the sports authorities, while they are spending lavishly on the the great show, they should also keep aside some funds to benefit the athletes. Heard that Rs 22 lakh was spent just on the inaugural ceremony- wouldn’t it be nice a little amount was also given to the winners along with the medals. We need encouragement and support from our government, which is very much lacking at present”.

100/200m Runner who reached Semi-Finals, Manish Kumar from Delhi said :

” A small complaint from my side- the food was okay, but the organizers should have thought of providing some North India food along with South Indian menu. Since many athletes were from North India, they were kind off dis-satisfied with the absence of North Indian food. Other than that our accommodation, transportation and other facilities were well taken care of”.

Discus Throw winner, Dharanraj Yadav from Uttar Pradesh said :


“Among all other national athletic events that I have participated, the 19th Fed Athletic Championships here at Mangaluru is something to be remembered for a long time-just the friendliness, hospitality, and courteousness shown towards me and my Army team members. The committee members were there when we needed them- I also like to mention a special thanks to Manjunath Bhandary-the president of DKAA who acted like a friend to all of us. To everyone who made our stay in Mangaluru a memorable one, a big thank you from the Army team”

4x100m relay winner, Shameer from Kerala (also a Commonwealth 2010 bronze medal winner) said :

“Superb arrangement, fantastic cultural programs, mouth-watering food, friendly and courteous service- simply the best among the rest of National sports event that I have attended. Three cheers to the organizing committee, KSAA and DKAA for a well job done”.


On April 29, The Karnataka Athletic Association website was relaunched at the Mangala Stadium. After the re-launching the website, G Parameshwar- President of Karnataka Athletic Association had promised saying, “In the website, “” we will updatethe names of the athletes, their state and the event they will be participating. Results will also be published online in the evening. We will also publish the winners names, the national record and the winning record. Day-to-day information related to the event will be published online.” But from the date of re-launch of the website, until the closing ceremony of the 19th Fed Athletic event, nothing has been updated nor any reports of the event has been published. Many spectators, athletes, coaches and others have been upset over this promise made by the concerned authorities of this mega event.

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