Saturday, July 17, 2010

As test event nears, aquatics venue officials go into panic mode

P Mukherjee complex undergoing hurried changes; ‘not fit’ to host July 27 event

While different agencies are working overtime to meet the new deadline set by the Group of Ministers (GoM) to complete various venues of the Commonwealth Games, officials of the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) have expressed apprehensions over the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Aquatics Complex’s readiness to host the three-day test event, beginning July 27.

With nearly 300 swimmers confirming participation in 38 test events, the SFI officials are not sure if they can conduct the event as scheduled.

“The stadium is not fit to conduct an event of even this size,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

The official said tiles are broken at several places near the poolside and balcony and are being replaced in a hurry. Even starting blocks and touchpads have not yet been installed, leave alone being tested.

“The less said about the road inside the complex the better. Even the restrooms and changing rooms are not ready,” added the official.

The biggest shock for the SFI officials, however, came with the arrival of the staff from Omega, the time-keepers for the Games. As they began work on the starting blocks to fix the touchpads, they found the tiles were fixed on a sand base instead of a concrete one. “When the construction officials were called in, they agreed to redo the base,” said the official.

According to another official, Omega have said they would need at least 10 days to install and test their equipment.

Considering the pace of work, the SFI is now unsure of taking possession of the stadium on July 19, as was assured by the authorities.

Home Secretary assesses security at Games venues

Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai on Saturday reviewed security arrangements at all Commonwealth Games venues. Pillai visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue of both opening and closing ceremonies, for an on-the-spot assessment of the security arrangements. Sources said Pillai interacted with officials of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and the Delhi Police, who also gave him a detailed presentation.

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