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Advani, Sethi in semifinals of IBSF World Billiards C'ship

india Updated: Aug 22, 2010 23:23 IST
Anupma Tripathi

Now, it’s the turn of the showpiece structure, the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, to leak. On Sunday, the core group gymnasts refused to practice at the venue as leakages from the ceiling made the playing arena dangerous.

What is more alarming is that only 41 days are left for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on October 3 and just four weeks for the athletes to arrive and practice.

The Rs 240-crore stadium was inaugurated by Sports Minister, M.S. Gill, on April 10 (four-and-half-months ago) and was renovated by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

Rubbishing the facilities at the stadium, a livid Belarusian coach, Vladimir Chatko, said: “With the Games less than six weeks away, we could not have risked our players.” He called the facility, where the Federation Cup gymnastics tournament - a test event for the CWG - was being held, as sub-standard.

“The leakages from the roof or ceiling on the mat have made it impossible for the players to practice,” said Chatko. “The players told me about the problem and I asked them to stay away from practice. One of the players who was practicing on Friday told me something sticky went into his eyes.”

The core group players were scheduled to practice from August 20-22. Even the players confirmed this. According to a player, a black sticky substance fell on them when they went for practice on Friday.

“The moment we walked into the arena, we could feel drops of water and oil falling on us from the roof,” he said. “I heard it hurt one of the players’ eyes as well while he tried to practice on an apparatus.

HS Kingra, special officer to joint secretary in charge of the Commonwealth Games infrastructure, said it was because of heavy condensation in the air conditioning ducts led to water dripping into the playing arena. When asked why did it take authorities more than four months to figure it out, he said, he blamed it on rain. “Delhi has never seen such rain before and because of high humidity level there is excessive condensation and that’s leading to water dripping into the stadium,” said Kingra. “We are looking into the matter and things will be in place very soon.”

A senior CPWD official admitted there were issues. He also blamed it on the air-conditioning duct. Now with just a week left for the August 31 deadline, getting stadiums in order seems to be a far cry.