People’s mood is changing. This time it’s for the better. Scepticism is giving way to belief. The clouds of doubt that dominated the collective psyche are clearing with each passing day. With the city of Delhi recognising that it is the long-term beneficiary of the Games, people are beginning to believe that we will host a stupendous Games.
One of the biggest reasons is the fact that Team India has started unveiling superb sporting infrastructure. Over the past few days, Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Ludlow Castle wrestling training venue and Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range in Tughlaqabad have been opened and anyone who has been to these venues will tell you that they are all world class.
Barring the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Aquatics Complex, which are scheduled to be ready in June, all sporting facilities will be ready in the coming weeks. The Thyagaraj Stadium, venue for netball competition at the Commonwealth Games, will be India’s first ‘green’ stadium. I am delighted that the eco-friendly venue may even supply power to the neighbourhood.
The Commonwealth Games Village near Akshardham will be handed over to the Organising Committee in June and everyone who has visited it has come away with the feeling that it will be the best Games Village, better than even what Beijing had built for the Olympics. The sporting facilities, dining hall and transport mall next to the Village are also coming up fast.
Given the fact that the OC — itself housed in a stylish headquarters — was actively involved in the designing of the sports facilities, I am pleased at how well all these venues have shaped up. The sporting infrastructure will be one of the wonderful legacies of the Games.
The good thing is our athletes can now start using the venues for training. The hockey players are already in Delhi to prepare for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup to be played here later this month. Similarly, our shooters have started training for the Commonwealth Shooting Championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range.
Far away from Delhi, the Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi has completed 48,223km on its visits of Europe and Africa and has projected the Commonwealth Games and Delhi. As you read this, it is on a 1272km five-day cruise on board RMS St Helena from Walvis Bay in Namibia to St. Helena. Since there is no airstrip on the Atlantic Ocean island, the boat is the only way to get there. And, as the boat leaves Namibia just once every month, there was no question of the Queen’s Baton 2010 Delhi missing the boat. It speaks about the precision with which the Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi has been planned and executed.
I am aware that the time for execution of our plans to conduct the Games well is not too far away and that we will face challenges as we move from the drawing board to the venues. I have no doubt that the Games will infuse greater energy into the sporting firmament of our country. And that the people will encourage all sport to such an extent that my dream of seeing Olympic sport flourish in India will come true. Yes, indeed, we can!