May 4, 2017
Fairfax Holdings chairman Prem Watsa inaugurated the Manohar C Watsa Stadium at IIT-Madras on Wednesday.
"I was a very keen sportsman during my student days. It really was a great source of pride for me that IIT-Madras started winning the inter-IIT trophy during my tenure as sports secretary. I was the first sports secretary of Jamuna Hostel and later of the whole institute. Apart from hockey, I was also pretty keen on table tennis," said Watsa, a 1971-batch chemical engineering graduate from IIT-M.
Prem Watsa, who is one of the 150 alumni to be designated as a "distinguished alumnus" by the institute, has helped renovate the institute's stadium for 400-meter, 8-lane synthetic track in memory of his father Manohar C Watsa.
The track area is around 5,300 sqaure metre with provisions for long jump, triple jump and a pole vault platform. Two warm-up practice steps have also been constructed adjacent to the track and facilities for other sports such as shot put, football and cricket have been provided inside the inner bowl of the track.
In addition, the spectators' gallery has been renovated with a new flooring and an entrance gate with access for the differently-abled. A walker pathway, with a width of 3m, has also been constructed along the periphery of the synthetic track.
The track has been awarded with "Class II Athletic Facility Certification" by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and will not hinder movement of wildlife on campus.
"The inauguration comes in time for the 52nd Annual Inter-IIT Sports Meet, scheduled to be held on the IIT-Madras campus during December 2017. It is worth noting that for nine consecutive years from 1972 to 1980, IIT-Madras has won the general championship more than any other IIT," said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT-M.