THE indoor hockey artificial pitch used for the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games last year is now lying in a store somewhere in Balakong, Selangor, damaged and abandoned.
After the pitch was laid as a temporary measure to host the 2017 KL Sea Games at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC), it was thoughtlessly ripped off.
Contractor Kuckreja & Co spokesperson Allan Netto said yesterday the pitch was damaged, and is no longer in playable condition.
On top of it, the Sea Games organisers still owe the contractor more than RM40,000, almost a year after the Malaysian men’s team won gold while the women’s team took bronze on the artificial pitch.
“Initially we were told to rush the job because a VIP wanted to visit MITEC, and we had to cut corners to get it ready. And after the visit, the pitch did not meet specifications because it was bumpy.
“We laid it again and finished the job just days before the Games started. It was in good condition and nobody complained.
“However, after the Games we asked for the balance of the money owed to us before removing it professionally. But instead of paying us, they hired unprofessional foreign workers who ripped it off and sent the pitch to a store in Balakong.
“This is a delicate surface and needs skilled workers to remove and lay it at another venue, but sadly, unprofessional hands have made it unplayable now,” said Allan.
The total cost to lay the indoor pitch was RM250,000 with the additional cost of hasty laying and re-laying for the VIP’s visit.
Kuckreja & Co has till now, yet to receive the RM40,000 owed.
“After the Sea Games, the venue was used for the Paralympics followed by a chess tournament where tables and chairs were arranged on the mat.
“This, itself, destroyed some parts of the mat, and with unprofessional removal and storage, it has just sadly gone to waste,” said Allan.
Right after the indoor Sea Games prize giving ceremony, NST Sports had asked National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail what they planned to do with the indoor court, and he could not provide an answer.
Shapawi had said then: “This artificial pitch needs to be moved to another hall because MITEC was just a temporary venue. But I can’t think of any place that is available right now.
“All our (NSC) halls are fully utilised for other sports. We will have to think of something fast.”
When contacted, Malaysian Hockey Confederation Deputy President Datuk S. Shamala said she needs more time to investigate before making a statement.
Sports Journalist with the New Straits Times since 1994.
My main beat is field hockey, so this blog will have stories that I have written for the NST, as well as hockey news from around the globe. There will be regular updates. I was also the Secretary General of the National Press Club, Malaysia for three terms (six years).