The Palacio de los Deportes de Murcia is an ‘oven’ and already has its first victim

Interior of the Palacio de los Deportes de Murcia, in a file image. / Edu Bottle / AGM

The air conditioning of the Region’s largest capacity pavilion broke down before the start of summer and remains unfixed. Ilimane Diop, center of UCAM, suffered from dehydration that kept him hospitalized one night

Emilio Sanchez Bolea

The Spanish Chess Championship has made the hare jump. The Palacio de los Deportes de Murcia, like a multitude of municipal sports facilities, is an oven. The air conditioning of the largest capacity pavilion in the Region of Murcia broke down before the beginning of summer and continues without being fixed. There are good days when it seems to work at times, but normally it doesn’t even respond. Both UCAM and ElPozo finished last season suffocated by the heat and started this one in the same conditions.

And, what was feared might happen, ended up happening. At UCAM they started last preseason and the team of physical trainers and physiotherapists noticed that the players had a worse time than expected, resorting to hydration on numerous occasions. Between the double sessions so typical of the preseason and the suffocating heat of a city that becomes inhospitable two months a year, center Ilimane Diop, one of the new faces of the team, was the victim of heat stroke last Friday.

Around ten o’clock at night, a while after the second training session of the day, the Spanish-Senegalese began to feel unwell. So much so that he was not only dizzy, but completely dehydrated that required hospitalization. He was admitted that same Friday and spent the night at the Ibermutuamur clinic until he was discharged the next day, on Saturday, at around three in the afternoon.

Without training scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, this Monday the UCAM resumed its training, with Diop exercising, like his teammates, as normally as possible. Complaints from the players follow one another and the coaching staff has had no choice but to take their foot off the accelerator and lower the physical load of the sessions in a week in which the pre-season friendlies begin, the first this Friday in Valencia against Gran Canaria.

The league premieres of ElPozo and UCAM are not at risk of celebration, since they finished last season without air conditioning and there are still more than three weeks to go

Chess, to Cagigal

Both UCAM and ElPozo had planned to change their training routine before the celebration of the Spanish Chess Championship, between August 30 and September 4 at the Palacio de los Deportes… initially. It was when all the infrastructure was set up for its celebration when the organization of the championship, taking a look at the stage one day before it, warned about the excessive heat. There were complaints to the authorities and the José María Cagigal was urgently found for the change of location.

It is precisely there where ElPozo Murcia had transferred its training to avoid the heat of the Palace. Those of the basketball only changed central track for auxiliary. The parquet floor of the Príncipe de Asturias is too hard and it is feared that it will increase the risk of injury. In any case, the league premieres of neither of the two teams are at any risk, since they are scheduled for September 23 and 29 respectively, when a significant drop in temperatures is expected.

Meanwhile, it’s time to endure the downpour. In the offices they are not better either. UCAM employees are pulling fans and a portable air cooling console, but there are days when the exaggerated heat is forcing workers who can afford it to opt for teleworking.

“The problem was detected on Friday”, they defend from the City Council

To shed light on the matter, the Councilor for Sports, Pedro García Rex, declared yesterday to the SER that “on Friday we detected a fault in the air conditioning”, although the problem has persisted since before the summer. “The Palace is an infrastructure of more than 25 years, the air has not been replaced, although the problem was detected eight years ago.”

“Right now extraordinary maintenance operations are being carried out that consist of repairing the compressor, to return to the previous situation that existed before this failure. These works consist, among others, of cleaning the interiors of condensers using acid, in the installation of a series of automatic resets and possible leaks are also being tracked. The cooling tower belts have already been changed », they defend from the Consistory.

Sources from the Murcia City Council point out that “the duration of these works is estimated at two or three weeks” and that “the technical project to replace the Palace’s current air conditioning machinery has already been drafted. A project whose budget is around one and a half million euros and which will soon be in the public contracting phase. This action will put an end to years of air conditioning deficiencies in the Palacio de los Deportes”.


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