A first: A nod to swimming in Sukhna, for the pvt triathlon event: The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, August 19

In an unusual move, UT’s athletic department has authorized a private body to hold a swimming event, as part of a triathlon competition, on Aug. 21 at Lake Sukhna. This may be the first time the department has granted such permission, virtually allowing professional open-water swimming at the lake.

In fact, the department has never organized its own swimming activities inside the lake, either for local professional/amateur swimmers or even for local triathlon athletes.

Interestingly, permission to hold the event was granted at a pittance price by a former manager, who was transferred on July 29, sources said.

Rules followed

Authorization has been granted in accordance with the rules and nothing prevents private bodies from using our facilities. Our other facilities are also open to private players on a paid basis. —Sanyam Garg, Director of Athletics, UT Administration

“Permission has been granted in accordance with the rules and nothing prevents private bodies from using our facilities. Permission was given a month ago. Our other stadiums are also open to private players for paid sporting activities said Sanyam Garg, director of athletics, UT Administration, who joined the department on July 29.

When asked if this would open the doors for other businesses to hold open swimming events at the lake, Garg replied, “Yes, but depending on the calendar and sporting events.”

The former manager remained unavailable for comment, while other officials, seeking anonymity, maintained the clearance was granted to promote the sport. The private company has already collected the registration fees from the participants.

No mention on the site

Although the ministry has mentioned user fees (for government and private agencies) for all of its facilities, there is no word on open water swimming at the lake. Even by the lake there is no mention of such a facility.

Surprisingly, permission for the event was granted for a three-figure fee, while other lakeside facilities can only be used after paying a five-figure amount for the general public and homes of business.

For example, the main lawn (adjacent to the restaurant and bar) is available for Rs 20,000 + 18% GST for a minimum gathering of 150 people and Rs 7,000 for an additional 50 people for members, while for the general public and corporate houses, the booking fee is doubled.

This is not the first time that the ministry has taken such a surprising decision. Prime ground in Sector 10 has been leased to the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) at Rs 100 (per annum) for 20 years, commencing 16th January 1997. In addition, the Union Territory Cricket Association (UTCA) , Chandigarh, has been given office space at Sector 16 on a billable basis at Rs 300 per month, while no other local association has been granted this privilege.

Permission without resources?

The ministry gave permission without having the proper resources to organize such events. Sources claimed that the organizers would organize everything, including the security of the participants, the availability of water boats and the like.

113 km endurance race

The 113 km triathlon will include a 1.9 km swimming circuit, followed by 90 km of cycling and a half marathon (21.1 km). The swim leg of the triathlon event will take place at Sukhna Lake at 6am on August 21. The athletes will then go for the cycling circuit on the Kurali-Chandigarh road.