May 31 , 2020

The Administration of North Gonder Zone has invested 22.5 million Br in the construction of an athletics centre and small stadium in two towns.

The athletic centre, which is set to be built in Dabat town, will have a one-storey structure that rests on 7,500ha of land. The centre, which is expected to cost 7.5 million Br, will have 30 rooms for different purposes, a gymnasium, dining space and an entertainment hall. The athletic centres will have the capacity to accommodate over 400 athletes at once.

Zewdu Yohanes General Contractor, a local grade-five construction company that has been in business for a decade, was awarded the project that is set to be completed in six months. Fiseha Tesfaye Consulting, another local architectural firm, was hired to supervise the construction of the centre.

In the Zone there are 47 athletic clubs including Red Fox Athletics in the Janmora District, the Arada Dejan in Dabat District and Walia Athletics Team in Debark. Established five years ago, the teams have been participating at national championships and at tournaments in Africa and around the world.

However, the athletic teams have faced challenges finding facilities for training, according to Alelign Kassa, a sports team leader under the Social Development Department of North Gonder Zone.

"Building the centre is part of the strategic plan of the Zone to support athletic sports and athletes from the area to be successful at the national and global level," said Alelign.

The small stadium will be built in Debark town for 15 million Br. Expected to take five years, the stadium that rests on 10,000ha will have a standard track. It will also have a one-storey structure with 38 rooms for the administrative offices of the athletics federation.

The Zone is in the process of hiring a company for the construction of the stadium, according to Alelign.

The Zone is investing in infrastructure for sports activities since the area has a favourable environment, according to Fantaye Fikadu, head of the communications office of North Gonder Zone.

In the Zone, which incorporates six weredas and two administrative towns, Debark and Dabet, no large-scale projects existed until 2010, when Debark University was built. The second and third large projects in the area will be the athletics facility and the stadium.

Fikir Yirekel, a sports journalist, appreciates the construction of the facilities for their contribution to enabling competent athletes, who can represent the country on the regional and international front.

It is also good when centres are built close to the villages of the athletes since most of them have to come to Addis Abeba for training, according to Fikir.

"It'll save their costs for house rent and other daily expenses," he said.

The objective of these facilities should also be to encourage as many citizens as possible to engage in physical activities and sports, according to Fikir.

"The centres should also be used for other sports activities for the community such as summer camps and jogging," he said.

Most importantly, the centres should not be neglected after being built like Tirunesh Dibaba Athletics Training Centre in Bokoji and Woldia Stadium, according to the sports commentator.

"After these facilities were built," said Fikir, "they didn't serve their purposes and were neglected."

PUBLISHED ON May 31,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1049]

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