If not nurtured, eventually it will get lost in time -- a statement that probably holds true for prospective athletes and venues built to facilitate them. Like many talented players have lost their way due to lack of proper care and facilities, there are a number of venues in the country the constructions of which started with much enthusiasm but have been left untended for years, resulting in their depletion over time.
One such venue is the lone swimming pool in Rajbari district town. The swimming pool that was constructed on three acres of land at a cost of Tk 3.37 crores in 2003, has remained unused for the past one-and-a-half year due to lack of fund.
On a recent visit to the venue, The Daily Star found the gate to be locked. Upon contacting, the gate was opened only to give a view of a worn-out structure. All there was left was a broken lamppost, a completely dried up pool with children playing in the pool's floor and some holes made on the boundary wall.
"I have tried several times to run the pool after taking charge as secretary but I couldn't do it due to lack of fund. The tube is broken, there is plenty of iron in the water, no water filters, and the building's condition is also vulnerable. As a result, the water became unusable within seven days. Vector cleaner is needed. We needed Tk 10,000 to 12,000 to clean the pool," Shafiqul Islam, general secretary of Rajbari District Sports Association, said.
While the Rajbari swimming pool has remained unused for lack of fund, the only swimming pool in Barishal has been abandoned due to faulty construction work back in 1997.
"Its construction work started in 1997 at a projected cost of Tk 3.75 crore with a capacity of 4.32 lakh gallons of water, the project funded by the National Sports Council (NSC). Although it was inaugurated in 2000, it was not possible to preserve water in the swimming pool. Due to lack of water in the pool, it gradually became unusable and has now been abandoned," said Alamgir Hossain Alo, member secretary of Barishal Divisional Sports Association.
Instead of having budding swimmers practising, the venue now houses some broken tiles, a pump machine that went out of order long ago with bushes grown all around and plasters falling off the dilapidated walls.
A proposal to restart the venue was sent to the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) in 2018, but has not yet seen the light of day.
Meanwhile, the state of the Sheikh Russel Mini Stadium in Tangail, part of an initiative taken by the government and later implemented by the NSC and MYS to construct a mini stadium in each upazila of the country for development and progress of sports at grassroots level, has deteriorated alarmingly in a year.
Just a year since its construction, the stadium has taken an abysmal state with erosion of soil at places to broken plasters and cracks appearing in the pavilion building, distorted veranda slopes and damaged cement-made seats for audiences around the arena.
[Reporting and photographs by our correspondents and photographers in Faridpur (Suzit Kumar Das), Tangail (Mirza Shakil) and Barishal (Sushanta Ghosh and Titu Das)]