SOURCE: The New Indian Express, 07th June 2016

It is not often that a sports venue in India goes head-to-head against infrastructure from other parts of the world. But that is what the Sports Hub Trivandrum, which houses the Greenfield International Stadium, has gone on and done with great success recently.

For David Vickers Award for New Venue of the Year in the Stadium Business Awards 2016, the stadium at Kariavattom was nominated along with the likes of Parc Olympique Lyonnais, the home of French football club Olympique Lyonnais, and T-Mobile Arena in Nevada, US and emerged as the winner.

“It was a very strongly contested category with international entries but this world-class sports facility in Kerala is the first privately-funded stadium on the Indian subcontinent and a development model for more to come,” said the judging panel.

The Stadium Business Awards, the 2016 edition of which was held at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, which is home to UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid, is one of the most prestigious awards in the stadium industry.

Other nominees were Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Mexico, Kyle Field at Texas A&M University, Matmut Atlantique in France, Suita City Football Stadium in Japan and the Vodafone Arena in Turkey, home ground of Turkish club Besiktas JK.

At the awards night held at the Bernabeu Stadium’s turf on June 1, stadium consultancy expert Ben Veenbrink received the award on behalf of the Sports Hub. “This is the first time an Indian venue has been given such a recognition,” said Anilkumar Pandala, director of Kariavattom Sports Facilities Limited which operates the venue.

“It is a matter of pride because we were nominated along with some world class stadiums from across the globe and managed to win the award. This is proof that we can build excellent infrastructure in Kerala that matches facilities in developed countries,” he said.

Into its seventh year, the Stadium Business Awards launched in 2010, aims to recognise achievement, innovation, fresh thinking and the leaders in the world of stadium, arena and sports venue management.

Previous winners of the new venue award includes the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland which hosts the Irish national rugby and football teams, the Stade Oceane in Le Havre, France which is home to Le Havre AC, Falmer Stadium in Falmer, England which is home of the Brighton and Hove Albion FC and the Groupama Arena in Budapest, Hungary.

Having hosted the inaugural and closing ceremonies of the 35th National Games 2015 and the 2016 SAFF Suzuki Cup football tournament, the authorities are now in talks with the Kerala Cricket Association to bring international cricket matches to the state capital.

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