The floodlights shone brighter than sunlight as a revamped Major Dhyan Chand Stadium was inaugurated here on Sunday.
The stadium, which will host the hockey World Cup next month and is one of the venues for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) later this year, is spread across 37 acres with a main turf and two side turfs. Refurbished at a cost of Rs 262 crore, it now boasts of a newly laid poly-grass turf, basement parking and a seating capacity of 19,000.
MS Gill, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, rated it as one of the best hockey stadiums in the world.
“I am proud to present it, especially, because many felt we wouldn't complete it on time. It is one of the best hockey stadiums in the world,” he said.
More than 2,000 workers were employed in the stadium's makeover. It is the first in the list of CWG venues to be completed so far. Siraj Ahmad, a worker at the site, said: “We worked from 8 am till 9 in the evening. The last one month was difficult because our working hours were increased and we had to brave the extreme cold.” For Abdullah, another worker at the stadium, it was a day of 'resounding' success.
“The man on the mike (referring to M.S Gill) sounds happy. It must mean something good for us, and, we have been promised a grand lunch,” he said.
While the outside wall of the stadium resembles a small fort from medieval times with three domed minarets on top of the entrance, the interior looks suave and modern.