Monday, August 30, 2010

Shivaji Stadium to miss games deadline

After the Central Vista, it seems to be the turn of Shivaji Stadium to miss the Commonwealth Games 2010 deadline. The stadium, which is being built by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), was to be part of the list of practice venues for athletes who are expected to start arriving from September 23. However, organizing committee (OC) officials say the facility is not even near completion. ‘‘As of now, we are not taking a call on Shivaji Stadium. We have already lined up other venues in case the stadium is not completed on time,’’ admitted Lalit Bhanot, secretary general, OC.

Earlier last month, Central Vista where the finals of the archery event were to take place was taken off the list of venues for Delhi Games 2010. Reason: late start of work. In fact, preparations for the event, which involved setting up temporary structures, had not even started. The finals were then shifted to Yamuna Sports Complex the competition venue for archery.

In case of Shivaji Stadium, NDMC claims the stadium is being rebuilt for legacy purposes. However, with only a part of the stadium expected to be handed over to the OC, the fact is that the stadium was to be the training venue for hockey. This was revealed by the ministry of youth affairs and sports, which has the stadium listed on its training venue schedule.

Anand Tiwari, NDMC spokesperson, claimed the civic agency had only been asked to hand over parts of the stadium to OC. Said Tiwari, ‘‘A major portion of the stadium building is for legacy purposes. Only the field of play, ground floor and the technology room is to be handed over to the OC by mid-September and we are working on it.’’

OC officials claim even if the stadium is not complete on time, it will use the premises of other competition venues for training purposes. The stadium, which had been intended for hockey practice and as a swimming arena, will now be replaced by Major Dhyan Chand Stadium and SP Mukherjee Swimming Pool Complex. With not even the structure of Shivaji stadium near completion, it seems the stadium will not be ready for practice sessions. Said a senior NDMC official, ‘‘There is a lot of work to be completed, and the field of play is yet to be ready.’’

Incidentally, Shivaji Stadium is not the only training venue to be lagging behind. Both Delhi Development Authority (DDA) training venues Yamuna Sports Complex and Siri Fort complex are still to be completed.