THE Jugra stadium in Banting may not be demolished after all. This is following the assurance by Selangor Education, Sports and Human Development chairman Datuk Ahmad Nawawi M. Zin to the Kuala Langat District Athletic Association (KLDAA).
Earlier there was speculation that the Jugra Stadium, built in 1984, will have to make way for development. However KLDAA secretary Jacob Matthew handed an appeal to save the Stadium to the state government during the Selangor Mentri Besar's “Meet The Rakyat” session in Banting on May 13.
Mathew, a former schoolteacher and athletics coach, said he recently received a letter from Ahmad Nawawi saying that the matter would be discussed at the State Exco meeting.
“I will be forwarding the appeal letter to the State Exco for further action. We are sensitive to the rakyat's request,'' said Ahmad Nawawi in his note to Mathew.
Mathew, who was Kuala Langat's athletic team manager for the recent Sukses, said it was important to upgrade the stadium, as the bitumen track was outdated.
“The time has come for a new synthetic track. The bitumen track is not safe anymore. There are many potholes and athletes can get injured. In fact several young athletes still continue to train at the stadium as there is no other suitable venue for athletics,'' said Mathew.
The Jugra Stadium was a grooming ground for several former national athletes. They include Norsham Yoon, Fatimah Abu Seman, Noraishah Wajib, Isnin Abdul Wahab, S. Manoharan, Abdul Muthalib Razak, Sharidah Daud, Saadiah Salleh, P. Balu and M. Prabagaranm.
Mathew said the last time an athletic championship was held at the Jugra Stadium was in 2000.
“But we could not organise any more meets as track was considered “dead'' and had lost its bounce. Many students, who had trained at the stadium, also complained of pains. In fact, during the closing ceremony of the district championships in 2000, Datuk Abdul Fatah Iskandar had assured us that he would look into upgrading the stadium with a synthetic track,'' recalled Mathew.
KLDAA had expected the stadium to be upgraded when Kuala Langat were named as host for the 2003 Sukses. However the Games was shifted to Shah Alam at the last minute.
In the recent Sukses, held at the UiTM Sports Complex in Shah Alam, Kuala Langat won two gold medals and two silver medals. The gold medals came from P. Malliga in the 800m and 1,500. She also won a silver medal in the 1,500m the other silver medal was from Lian Chee Haur in javelin.
Malliga, being a long distance runner, trains at Tanjung Sepat but Lian continues to train at the Jugra Stadium. The 20-year old Lian, who also takes part in long jump, said he had no other place but the Jugra Stadium to train.
“I need an open space and not the track. So I am regularly at the Jugra Stadium,'' said Lian, who will be taking part in next months Selangor Open athletics championships.
But another youngster Yeoh Wei How, who took part in the 10,000m in Sukses, had no choice but to train at the Jugra Stadium.
“I am staying nearby and find the stadium convenient. But I also sustained some injuries. Now I am switching to the walking events,'' said the 18-year old Yeoh.
The Jugra Stadium, with floodlights, is also utilised by the FA of Selangor (FAS) for the league fixtures. Besides the football field and tack, there is also an indoor stadium for basketball and badminton and two tennis courts nearby.
Mathew said they would be grateful to the state government if work on upgrading the stadium starts soon.