Empty seats and pin-drop silence, even though a goal was scored just two seconds ago. Such was the scene at the women’s hockey match between South Africa and Trinidad &Tobago, held at Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Monday as most of the 19,118 seats were empty despite a gripping game.
It’s not just hockey. Sadly, most sports at the Commonwealth Games have no takers. Reportedly, even a tennis match which had India participating, saw just 43 people in the crowd, and that included officials and volunteers!
Disappointed, the CWG officials are requesting Delhiites to come out and support the Games. “While it’s a huge TV event, stadium seats remain empty. Delhiites just don’t want to come out of their homes. We request Delhiites to cheer for their country, as well as for athletes from other countries,” says Priya Singh Paul, additional director-general, communications, CWG.
Volunteers, too, are despaired at the lack of enthusiasm. “The scene at the badmintion match between India and Kenya was heartbreaking. There was no one to cheer. Athletes have come from so far to play in our city and people can’t find even a couple of hours to support them!” says Gurleen Kaur, a volunteer.
Another volunteer, posted at Dhyan Chand stadium, says, “So much effort being put in and no one to applaud. But, I’m now ensuring that all my friends buy tickets and come.”
However, things have been looking up, even if only marginally, since the Opening Ceremony. Since then, 1 lakh tickets have been sold, bringing the overall tally to 6 lakh. “The most popular and anticipated game is the hockey match between India and Pakistan. But, not all the tickets for it have been sold. People can still come and buy the tickets,” says an official on the CWG 2010 ticketing helpline.