Need more Sports Facilities
a country where sports, unless it's cricket or football, is
not given the importance it deserves, sports facilities for
women are extremely limited. The Dhanmondi Women's Sports
Complex (DWSC) is possibly the only centre that caters to
women's' sports. DWSC is a government organisation with all
the facilities supplied by National Sports Council (NSC).
In 1972 a group of courageous women, including Rabeya Khatun,
Sajeda Chowdhury, Lutfunnisa Bakul, with the help of NSC,
took a revolutionary initiative to do something for promoting
women's sport. The result was DWSC an exclusive sports ground
for women among 33 federations, in Dhanmondi. From 1972 to
2004 the Complex has created a number of good women athletes.
built in 1972, its first president was Sayeda Sajeda Chowdhury,
and general secretary was Lutfunnisa Haq Bakul. Being a part
of NSC it is provided with 10 lakh Takas every year in four
installments. In every district there is branch and activity
of DWSC. The complex has facilities for aerobics, swimming,
badminton, table tennis, volleyball, handball, judo, football,
gymnastics, marshal art and all type of athletics.
caters to mainly women of all ages, but it does allow boys
from six to ten to its facilities. There are approximately
450 players and among them 50 are boys. Players from all over
Dhaka get the opportunity to play and practice here. Physical
trainers, who get a salary, train all type of players. Swimming
and Aerobics seem to be the most popular activities at the
Complex with around a hundred trainees for each activity.
fees differ according to the discipline one wishes to train
in. Swimming and Aerobics, for example have registration fee
of Tk 800 each plus a monthly fee of Tk 600. DWSC earns from
50,000-1,00,000 taka which fluctuates from year to year as
there are fewer students in the winter and during exam seasons.
is a women's hostel in the complex reserving 150 seats. When
there is any big competition with players coming from all
over Bangladesh, these hostels are used for their accommodation.
swimming is the most popular sport at the complex, it is sometimes
quite awkward for women to swim, as there is little privacy,
thanks to the surrounding high rises. Reconstruction work
has been under taken to improvise the pool as well as the
hostel -- which has been allocated 200 seats.
too, are extremely dirty and ill-maintained, which is a major
cause of annoyance to the players and trainees. The authorities
say that they are planning to improve this facility. A canteen
is also in the pipeline as well as the introduction of cricket
and lawn tennis. When there is a mega competition with players
from all over the country, 25 trainers train the players at
the same time. Players do not have to pay for food and accommodation.
the complex provides the best possible environment for women's
sports, like all other institutions, it is not untouched by
politics. The sports complex has increasingly become a venue
for fairs, meena bazars and concerts rather than sporting
events. With concerts no longer being allowed in the army
stadium, they are now being held at the DWSC. Along with concerts
come the rowdy concertgoers who are difficult to control;
the sports field is damaged and people throw garbage into
the pool. It costs about 20 thousand taka just to clean the
pool, according to the Complex sources. Government authorities
prefer to allow this venue for concerts as they claim it is
a safe place. But this argument has not been taken well by
residents who have to suffer every time a concert takes place
and the roads are clogged with extra traffic.
steps have to be taken to make this Complex as efficient as
possible in training potential sportswomen. As it is, women
are rarely encouraged to play sports. The DWSC represents
a hope that someday they will be.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005