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In Dulay village of Ludhiana, farmers sacrifice land for sports stadium

The stadium has a cricket pitch, a football/handball ground, athletics and a basketball court (which is under-construction).

Exclusive 20 Dec 2016, 13:33 IST
The villagers have named it Sardar Santokh Singh Margind Stadium

With an amazing population of 1.3 billion people, India has no shortage of sporting talent. What sports in India need are good facilities, investment, trainers/coaches and scouting. And over the recent few years, India has witnessed different sports coming up and several events being hosted which show that India is now starting to move forward in sports 

We saw yet another impeccable example of sportsmanship. It comes from the farmers of Dulay village, located around 15km from Ludhiana where they have sacrificed their land to build a stadium to give a boost to sports.

Dulay village is famously known for its historic gurdwara, Flahi Sahib. The villagers have built the multipurpose stadium, as their contribution to Indian sports, and have named it Sardar Santokh Singh Margind Stadium. It’s built on eight acres of land surrounding the gurudwara. It accommodates a cricket pitch, a football/handball ground, athletics and a basketball court (which is under-construction).

The stadium is the brainchild of general secretary of Punjab Basketball Association Teja Singh Dhaliwal, who is also in charge of Ludhiana Basketball Academy. Dulay is his native village and it was his vision to build a stadium there. The stadium has now become the centre of attraction for sports enthusiasts in the village and surrounding areas.

Teja Singh told TOI in an exclusive interview, how the idea of constructing a stadium had come up.

"I have dedicated my life to sports. I always regretted to have failed to promote sports in my village. As a youngster, I wanted my village to have a sports complex where we could practice, but we did not have the right facilities. Once, I was sitting with a group of friends and they shared that they wanted to do something for the development of the village.Then I asked them to construct a stadium as it would channelize the energy of the youth in the right direction and produce good sportspersons too."

Along with Dhaliwal, sarpanch of Dulay Lakhmir Singh, villagers Darshan Singh Grewal, Pritam Singh Dhaliwal and an NRI from the UK, Sarabjit Singh, made the initial contribution. Prior to this, however, they had convinced some farmers to donate their land.

Kuldeep Singh, who takes care of the stadium, added, "Youngsters of our village and nearby villages come here every morning to run. Besides, school students are brought here for sports practice. Every Sunday, we organise a cricket or a football match here. A group of doctors, chartered accountants and advocates come for cricket matches since we have a professional pitch.”

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