‘Officer and a dog:’ Delhi orders sports facilities to remain open till 10 pm

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered Thursday that all state-run sporting complexes will remain open for sportspersons till 10 pm.

The directive follows a report in ‘The Indian Express’ which said athletes and coaches at the Delhi government-run Thyagraj Stadium were forced to finish training by 7 pm because a bureaucrat walked his dog at the facility later in the evening.

The paper quoted a coach: “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,” said a coach.

The IAS officer concerned, Delhi’s Principal Secretary (Revenue) Sanjeev Khirwar, described the allegation made by athletes as “absolutely incorrect”. He admitted he took his dog for a walk at the stadium but that did not disturb players, the paper reported.

The reporter also visited the stadium on three evenings and found “the stadium guards walking towards the track at around 6.30 pm, blowing whistles and ensuring that the arena was cleared by 7 pm”.

On Tuesday, the reporter saw Khirwar enter the stadium with his dog after 7.30 pm. “The pet could be seen roaming around the track and football field even as security guards kept watch,” the report said.

Union Minister Kaushal Kishore criticised the officer for “misused his authority”. He tweeted: “It’s shameful that sportspersons have to empty the stadium (Delhi’s Thyagraj Stadium Complex) premises because an IAS officer wants to walk with his dog. The officer should apologise. This is a misuse of his authority.”

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Source: The Print