Venues look good for Commonwealth Games

September 12th, 2010 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) Stung by negative media reports, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) Sunday took three busloads of journalsits on a guided tour of four of the 11 competition venues for the Oct 3-14 Games, revealing they look good for the event.
Three of the venues were more or less ready long ago and even test events were held there. The Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Complex, which along with the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium had given the CGOC and government sleepless nights, is still being given finishing touches.

The stadiums visited, besides the swimming complex, were Talkatora Indoor stadium (Boxing), Thyagaraj Sports Complex (Netball) and Siri Fort Sports Complex (Badminton and Squash) and they have all undergone considerable sprucing up in the last one month.

The playing arena, the warm-up area and other facilities were in place with the overlays work completed. The landscaping and cleaning up work outside the stadium is on and should be completed by Sep 16. The stadiums will then be handed over to security agencies for conducting safety drills.

Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who dropped in at Thyagaraj Complex to meet the media, said the venues are completely ready to host the competitions.

“You can see for yourself that the stadiums are ready. Most of them can hold the competitions in a day’s time. Everyone has worked hard to overcome problems, caused mostly by the vigorous monsoon, but now the time has come to appreciate all the efforts.

“There has been so much negative publicity about the Games and now its time to look at the positives with barely three weeks to go for the start of the Games. The facilities are world class and we need to highlight them,” Kalmadi told the media.

The swimming complex, which had been in the limelight after a swimmer was injured from a loosely held tile, will take more than a week’s time to be ready to hold the competition. The complex has been refurbished at Rs.377 crore.

The pools had also come under a lot of criticism during the test event in July because of some basic technical flaws in the structure. There is no lift for the divers to reach the board, the staircases leading to the top are cramped, while the ceiling at the warm-up area is too low.

An International Swimming Federation (FINA) technical delegation inspected the facilities last month and were satisfied, Competition Manager Kamlesh Nanavati told IANS.

“The delegation, however, did say that there should have been a provision of lift without which it will be difficult during training as the divers may have to go to the top 15-20 times and it will be tiring to take the staircase,” Nanavati said.

“The false roof at the warm up area which had come off during the test event has also been fixed,” Nanavati said.

In fact, the highboard event during the Federation Cup in July had to be cancelled because the anti-slippery surface was not in place and without which there were chances of divers skidding.

Surprisingly, it is still to be placed.

The anti-slippery surface has been brought form London after repeated requests to CPWD, the venue owners, and will be finally put up in a day or two.

Work is still on at the athletes lounge, dope control centre, gymnasium and press conference room, which is being done outside the main arena as there are not enough rooms inside the stadium.

Among other things, the electronic scoreboard, starting blocks (12) for the warm up pool, will arrive from Singapore and will be in place by Sep 19. As the warm up pool is still not ready, the Indian team is currently practising at the main pool.

The landscaping and beautification outside the stadium, which has a capacity of 5,000, is also going on at full throttle.

Security officials will take over the stadium Sep 15.

The Thyagraj Sports Complex, which will host the netball event, is one of the best venues. Known as a green stadium, the stadium is built at a cost of Rs 297.4 crores.

“We are ready to hold the competition tomorrow,” said competition manager Carmel Wright.

“The facilities are world class. It is infact the best venue of Delhi 2010. I am an Australian and I can tell you that the stadium is much better than what we got in Melbourne where there were not many change rooms.”

“It will leave a rich legacy for the sport in India.”

The badminton and squash facility at the Siri Fort Complex, built at a cost of Rs.241 crore, is a far cry from what it was during the test event.

During the Asian Badminton Championships in April, many players had complained about the dust in the warm up area which has now been completed. An imposing facade of the stadium gives it a world class look.

The state-of-the-art Talkatora Stadium, buit at Rs 150 crore, is also ready for the event.

“Everything is ready in the stadium — athletes lounge, anti doping centre, warm up area, change room, medical facilities. We have left nothing to chance,” said competition manager Lenny Degama.

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