Coaches and athletes at Delhi’s Thyagraj stadium have been complaining about the disruption caused by an IAS officer who uses the premises to walk his dog in the evening. They alleged that in recent months, stadium guards have compelled athletes to finish training by 7 pm. As per a report by The Indian Express, Sanjeev Khirwar, Delhi’s Principal Secretary of Revenue, has been accused of taking his dog for a stroll in the sports complex around 7:30 pm. However, the IAS officer, when contacted by the publication, denied the allegations and said that he “sometimes” takes his dog for a walk but never disrupts the practice sessions.
While speaking to the publication, a coach said, “We used to train till 8-8:30 pm under lights earlier. But now, we are asked to leave the ground by 7 pm so that the officer can walk his dog on the ground. Our training and practice routine has been disrupted.”
IAS officer Mr Khirwar has stated that the allegations are false. “I would never ask an athlete to leave the stadium that belongs to them. Even if I visit, I go after the stadium is supposed to close…We don’t leave him (the pet) on the track…when no one is around we leave him but never at the cost of any athlete. If it’s something objectionable, I will stop i,” he told the publication.
In this regard, the stadium administrator Ajit Chaudhary told that the official evening time is 4-6 pm, but due to the hot weather, athletes are allowed to practice until 7 pm. Ajit mentioned that the stadium closes at 7 pm. He further said that he is not aware of any government official using the facilities after 7 pm, reported the publication.
However, over the past few days, The Indian Express investigated the matter by visiting the stadium three evenings in a row. They claimed to notice stadium security walking towards the track at nearly 6:30 pm, blowing whistles and ensuring that the area was empty by 7 pm. In fact, on Tuesday they saw Khirwar arrive at the stadium with his dog after 7:30 pm.
As a result of the practice disruption, many athletes have begun training in the Sports Authority of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.