When the sports ministry launched the 'come and play scheme' last year, it put to use five major venues that hosted competitions during the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Delhiites started looking forward to finally using the world-class infrastructure - the legacy of the 2010 games.
All major cities that have hosted big multi-discipline events like the Olympics or the Asian Games have faced challenges to keep the legacy intact.
In the backdrop of the allegations of corruption, it was a huge task even for the union ministry of sports to take the initiative of opening the massive infrastructure to public. Hence, the takeover process took months.
Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium. HT file photo
Former athletics great Gurbachan Singh Randhawa said opening the sporting venues to the common man will open the floodgates of opportunity for Delhi's youngsters.
"At least some segment of the vast infrastructure shall be put to use now," Randhawa said of stadia renovated at the expense of public money in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The decision to use the infrastructure after the Games was something Delhi's sporting fraternity had been looking forward to.
In preparation for the 2010 event, the main five venues, including the Nehru Stadium, a hub of athletics, were closed down. Since there weren't alternative venues to train, it was a major setback for the Capital's aspiring sportspersons.
But now almost all the players, including novices, are back on the track. The come-and-play scheme, said PC Kashyap, a top official with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), an arm of the sports ministry, shall prove an excellent platform for the youth of the city to polish their skills.
He added: "There is good response to the scheme. It would definitely grow in the near future."
The nominal fee structure to avail of the modern facilities at these state-of-the-art stadia was also quite encouraging for the upcoming players.
The response from the city was overwhelming at each of the five major venues - Nehru Stadium, National Stadium, Indira Gandhi Stadium, Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges and Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Complex.
Apart from regular training sessions, summer camps were also conducted to boost the sporting culture in the city.
But under the government's come and play scheme, only a small portion of the huge infrastructure is put to use.
Take for example the indoor weightlifting hall within the Nehru Stadium, which hosted the lifting competition during the CWG event which is now lying unutilised.
Also, the lawn bowls facility is lying idle. Even the hostel facilities at the Nehru Stadium are hardly used.