Commonwealth Games stadiums present a pathetic picture

first_imgThe sprawling stadia in the Capital were the centre of focus when they came up for the Commonwealth Games (CWG), the biggest multi-discipline event that the country has ever hosted. But little under two years after the event, some of the venues cut a sorry picture with most of the stadia in shambles and out of reach for the locals.With billions of rupees spent on refurbishing the venues, the only legacy that Delhiites seem to have received is the huge financial burden. Most of the venues are lying useless and despite the high demand of sports enthusiasts, the authorities have preferred to keep sports lovers out of these stadia.The state-of-the-art velodrome at the Indira Gandhi stadium, for example, built at a mind boggling cost of Rs 150 crore is one of the world’s best indoor cycling facilities. But the velodrome was opened for the national cyclists only last month, before which the venue wasn’t accessible to anyone. The national cycling team had been training in Patiala on cemented tracks till then. With the velodrome being out of their reach, it’s no wonder that none of the Indian cyclists made it to the London Olympics.In 2011, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid had said that it was a matter of ‘shame’ that not even one event was being held at the cutting-edge velodrome.A similar facility that was unveiled at theLondon Olympics, is being equipped with cycling workshops and will be transferred to a local body which will use the venue for sporting events of different kinds.advertisementThe same Indira Gandhi Stadium also hosted the wrestling events during the CWG and ever since Sushil Kumar’s feat at the Beijing Olympics, the sport has attracted many youngsters. Despite the sprawling facility at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, the plight of Indian wrestlers is such that six of them have to share one room under the Chattrasal Stadium, with just one practice hall and limited training equipment. Likewise, the Thyagraj Stadium, which was built at a cost of Rs 300 crore, does not have any equipment for the 100 odd athletes who visit the stadium every day.After CWG’s closing ceremony, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, renovated at a cost of Rs 961 crore, has hosted only two major sporting events – the SAFF championship and another football match between Bayern Munich and India.The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium already shows signs of wear and tear.The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is scheduled to host the Nehru Cup from Wednesday and the state of the venue is far from what is required to stage an international event. With glaring bald patches in the practice pitch, even Indian football coach Wim Koevermans refused to hold the national camp at the venue.No effort has been made to maintain the complex, which has resulted in the overgrowth of grass in the area that held the lawn bowls event during the Games.Delhi had the success stories of Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006 to emulate from, where big budgets were allocated to training and the venues prepared for the events were sold to private clubs.Right after the 2002 CWG held at Manchester, the stadium was handed over to the Manchester City Football Club from which the authorities got millions annually as revenues, which were in turn put back into promoting sport.For the next CWG to be held in Glasgow in 2014, the organisers have held the construction of social legacy to be their top priority.The future of the infrastructure in the national capital and the future of the country’s next generation of athletes is still uncertain.Other countries that have hosted such events have realised the relevance of ‘the legacy’ that locals look up to inheriting as hosts. Whether Delhiites can claim theirs is a question that still remains unanswered.– With inputs from sports desk.Chhatrasal Stadium: Wrestlers packed off below a staircaseAt Chhatrasal Stadium, wrestlers have to camp in a room tucked away under the main staircase.While the Commonwealth Games created world class infrastructure for sports that have barely any following or success to speak of, sports like wrestling that have been generating medals have been ironically ignored by the authorities. Renovated for CWG at a cost of Rs 70 crore, Chhatrasal stadium is the hub of Indian wrestling and has produced Olympians like Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, but it does not even meet the basic requirements of its athletes.Till very recently, Chhatrasal stadium was home to around 50 other wrestlers, many of whom are national and international level sportspersons. Instead of quarters to live in, the stadium provides them with a room which has been created below the stairs of the main ground. At least five to six athletes camp in each room, and without beds, they sit, sleep and eat on the floor itself.advertisementBut to the wrestlers, most of whom have come from the Capital’s outskirts or from rural Haryana, it is not sleeping on the floors that pains them but having to suffer due to a paucity of equipment and practice halls is what affects them the most. For the athletes, there is only one practice hall and limited weight training equipment that they can train with.”There was a shortage of weight training equipment anyway and now with Sushil and Yogeshwar’s victories, more people are bound to come in. Unless we’re given another hall, apart from the equipment, practicing here will become quite difficult,” said an athlete on conditions of anonymity.Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium: Velodrome languishes without cyclistsThe state-of-art velodrome at the IGI Stadium is not built to stand Delhi’s weather conditions.Last year, the International Cycling Union (UCI) president, Pat McQuaid, said that it was a matter of ‘shame’ that the state-of-the-art indoor facility of velodrome was not being used. The Velodrome, built at a cost of Rs 150 crore, has arguably the best indoor cycling track in the country, the only facility of its kind to offer a timbre track instead of a cemented one.However it has barely been opened to the public after the Commonwealth Games.With no enthusiasts coming forward to use the venue, the wooden track has been permanently covered with a plastic sheet and doors to the facility locked. In Delhi’s extreme hot and humid weather the costly wooden track is expected to deteriorate rapidly in absence of any air conditioning or maintenance. According to an official the daily expense of maintaining the venue comes close to Rs lakh. With no money coming to the maintenance staff they claim their hands are tied as well.The world class venue, with a seating capacity of 3800, modern sports lighting and acoustics system, was expected to inspire the next generation of cyclists in the country. But dropping out of the view of public and the authorities the world-class venue is now screaming for attention.last_img

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