ALTHOUGH the Stadium Jugra in Banting has undergone a much-deserved facelift after more than 30 years, there is now a confusion about its 400m synthetic track.
A high-ranking technical official claimed the track did not meet specifications set by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), especially for the steeplechase events.
The water jump for the steeplechase event had been built on the right side of the “D” of the grandstand and near the finish line, which is not in accordance with the IAAF guideline.
“Previously, the water jump was on the left side of the grandstand and in the “D” near the starting line for the 100m sprint event.
“Steeplechase events, whether 2,000m or 3,000m, cannot be held in the new stadium.
“The new track is something athletics fans in Banting had been waiting for, but now it cannot be used for steeplechase events,” said the official.
However, RS Machineries Sdn Bhd, the contractor responsible for resurfacing the new synthetic track, claimed everything was in order.
A source said the main contractor for the refurbishment project of Stadium Jugra was JFMA Enterprise Sdn Bhd.
“We were given the task of resurfacing the track.
“We conducted a study and found the track did not meet IAAF specifications as the track did not measure 400m and the water jump was not in the correct location.
“After discussions with the Kuala Langat District Council, it was decided that we break the existing drain surrounding the track.
“We realigned the track to become a 400m one as the council was keen to have it certified by IAAF.
“However, a water jump is not a compulsory requirement to obtain the Class 2 certificate from IAAF,’’ said the source.
However, after getting clearance from the council, RS Machineries decided to build the water jump on the right side with the starting line in front of the grandstand and the finish line near the javelin section.
“We did this out of goodwill, so athletes can train for the steeplechase event.
“The event can still be held at the stadium but the athletes will have to run clockwise rather than anti-clockwise.
“The starting point will be in front of the grandstand. It may look different but several other countries have the same facility which is accepted by IAAF,” said the source.
The Jugra Stadium was built in 1984 with a bitumen track while the new synthetic track uses the Polytan M system from Germany.
Polytar M conforms to the latest IAAF specifications and is designed for longevity and required minimal maintenance.
It is said to withstand extreme temperature and climate.
The Polytan M system is also said to encourage high performance standards among athletes and helped reduce the risk of injuries.
The IAAF certification was conducted by Matthew Cohen from Trackmasters International Ltd on March 3.
Cohen, who is based in Thailand, checked the layout, gradient and dimensional accuracy of the competition area.
He certified that all measurements and information in his report were accurate and recommended the synthetic track be granted either IAAF Class 1 or Class 2 as a certified athletics facility.
On April 13, IAAF issued a Class 2 Athletics Facility Certificate signed by IAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel and IAAF technical committee chairman Jorge Salcedo.
The certificate stated that the synthetic track met all the technical requirements of IAAF Rule 140 for relevant competitions.
In addition to the resurfacing of the running track, refurbishment works at the stadium included a repainted grandstand and installation of new seats.