The Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium hogs the spotlight again – and parents are not amused.
Those sending their children for Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association’s (KLHA) development programme were informed the Pantai turf has been booked from Oct 2-14 and as such there will be no activity during the period.
Parents claimed they were informed by KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam through a WhatsApp message on Oct 2 that the stadium would be used by City Hall from 8.30am to 3.30pm.
They were not told why the turf would be off bounds. But parents who visited the turf on Saturday morning found there was zero activity at the venue.
In August, the same training programme was cancelled after City Hall, the owners of the stadium, allowed the Kuala Lumpur International Marching Band Competition 2018 to be held there.
“There should be some consistency. We can’t have development programmes which are often cancelled or postponed,” said a parent who declined to be named.
“We have voiced our concerns but if we speak too much, then our children will be penalised.
“The development programme is only two hours over the weekends. Can’t we use the turf for just two hours?”
Another parent, Surej Rathnam, a former Kuala Lumpur Under-21 hockey player, echoed the sentiments.
“We were not told why the turf is off limits on those dates,” he said.
“What could be more important than developing the sport at a hockey stadium?”
“We wish to see some form of consistency in the training programme. KL’s hockey has been on the decline in recent years and it is only through development programmes that we can unearth new talents,” added the 47-year-old who is a regional manager for a multinational company.
His 12-year-old son is one of the more than 50 children in the programme which is held every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday.
“You should see the passion of the parents and students during training. The parents come out in full force to support their children. It’s a wonderful sight. This is what sports is all about.”
In clarifying the matter, Rajamanickam told Twenytwo13 that City Hall had allowed para athletes to undergo lawn bowls training at the turf.
“The para athletes had requested to use the turf. City Hall, being the owner of the stadium, had conveyed this to us,” he said.
“Whether they use the turf or not, we have no choice but to block those dates.”
He added disabled athletes should be given an opportunity to train at the turf.
“The balls used are small. They will not impact the turf in any way. It (hockey stadium) is a public space that belongs to City Hall, so they can use it if they get permission from City Hall.”
For the record, the national para athletes are in Indonesia for the Asian Para Games (Oct 6-13).
Rajamanickam advised disgruntled parents to get their children play as a team in the Kuala Lumpur Hockey league if they want to see them become better hockey players.
“We have been running our training programmes at zero cost to the parents. Even children from Selangor join us. I suggest the parents field a team and play in our Division 4 league. That’s development of the sport too,” he added.
KLHA development committee chairman I. Vikneswaran, who also coaches the players, kept mum over the episode.
The former international was reprimanded by KLHA’s disciplinary committee last month following his outburst over the cancellation of the training programme to make way for the marching band competition.