Athletes training at Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium are being asked to empty the arena early so an IAS officer can walk his dog there, The Indian Express has reported.
The officer, Delhi’s Principal Secretary (Revenue) Sanjeev Khirwar, has denied disrupting practice at the stadium.
Meanwhile, stadium administrator Ajit Chaudhary said the facility’s closing time was 6 pm but in the heat, a one-hour extension was given to athletes.
But one coach disputed his claim. “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,” they told The Indian Express.
As the report gained attention on social media, furious users called out the officer for treating the facility meant for national and state-level players as a "dog-walking park". The stadium was built for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
The sense of entitlement of a class that clears ONE exam and thinks it gives them the right to lord over the whole country. Shameful. pic.twitter.com/NbL0RrQTQM
— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) May 26, 2022
“It’s not a dog’s life if you are the dog of an IAS officer,” a Twitter user named Harsh said in response to her tweet.
It’s not a dog’s life if you are the dog of an IAS officer. https://t.co/QnIFpu37AR— Harsh (@harsh8848) May 26, 2022
Another user wrote: “So Thyagraj Stadium is now dog walking park for Delhi's Principal secretary. How come pets are allowed in the stadium? Why are players interrupted in their practice? What kind of entitlement is this?”
Some demanded an inquiry against the official. “How can he stop athletes from using the Thyagraj stadium?” asked a Twitter user named Lokesh Sharma.
— Lokesh Sharma (@sharmalokesh6) May 26, 2022
Athletes say they have been compelled to shift to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which is 3 km away from Thyagraj.
As outrage over the incident mounted, the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced that all stadiums controlled by the Aam Aadmi Party government will stay open till 10 pm.
News reports have brought to our notice that certain sports facilities are being closed early causing inconvenience to sportsmen who wish to play till late nite. CM @ArvindKejriwal has directed that all Delhi Govt sports facilities to stay open for sportsmen till 10pm pic.twitter.com/LG7ucovFbZ— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) May 26, 2022