Saturday, January 23, 2010

National Stadium to be opened today

The reconstructed Dhyan Chand National Stadium will be inaugurated by the Union Sports Minister, M.S. Gill on Sunday.

Remodelled and renovated at a cost of Rs. 262 crore the stadium will host the World Cup hockey tournament from February 28 and will then host the hockey event during the Commonwealth Games in October.

True to expectations and as described by Mr. Gill and the FIH President, Leandro Negre, during a recent visit, the complex that houses two match turfs — polygrass — and a practice turf, apart from a swimming pool, is a world-class facility.

It will be the first stadium to be opened from among the venues for the Commonwealth Games. The main stadium has a capacity of 16,200 while the adjacent No. 2 turf, also with a newly-built pavilion, can accommodate around 2000 spectators.

The work at the stadium was continuing at a feverish pitch on Saturday to be ready for the inauguration on Sunday.

Both the match turfs had been laid while the practice pitch is yet to be laid, with the base just about getting completed.

Officials said the No. 2 turf would be available for practice during the World Cup.

A computerised sprinkler system, with two back-up arrangements; retractable floodlight towers, centrally air-conditioned halls, electronic surveillance system and two-tier underground parking are some of the prominent additions to the stadium that hosted the athletics and cycling events and the opening and closing ceremonies of the inaugural Asian Games in 1951.

Being a heritage building, the fa├žade of the original stadium has been retained and an extension has been built to match the red-brick outward appearance.
Foldable towers

In order to avoid a jarring note to the Central Vista the foldable floodlight towers at both the match pitches have been so constructed as to be brought down to a height of 12 metres when not in use.

The main venue would be provided 2200 lux illumination to cater to high definition television coverage.

To recall India’s rich tradition in hockey, the stadium will have a walk-through museum displaying portraits of legends, their dresses and other artefacts related to the game and India’s glorious history.
Only disappointing note

The only disappointing note as a small batch of journalists visited the stadium on Saturday was in spotting the allocation of the tabled area for the Press — at one extreme corner, almost in line with the goal cage on the southern side.

Despite promises of meticulous planning of venues, with expert advice from foreign companies, the Organising Committee for the Commonwealth Games seemed to have given little attention to media needs.

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