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Events ahead of Games irk minister Gill

india Updated: Aug 30, 2009 00:28 IST
Sahil Sharma

The pressure of deadlines seems to be getting on the Sports Minister, MS Gill. With the pace of work on the Commonwealth Games venues becoming an issue of concern, a seemingly annoyed minister questioned the national sports federations’ logic behind scheduling major international events before the Commonwealth Games.

“We are hosting some high profile international tournaments next year before the Commonwealth Games, but these events could have been avoided,” Gill said on the occasion of National Sports Day at the Dhyan Chand Stadium on Saturday. “The work at all the venues started late, and to add to the pressure, we have to host events as big as the World Championships as test events before the CWG. A lot of work still needs to be done and the time is very short.”

Gill also criticised the federations for scheduling events like the world championships, world cups and the Commonwealth championships as ‘test’ events.

“What was the need to host such events? It is unwise on the part of federations to have scheduled these events right before the Commonwealth Games,” Gill said.

“I am disappointed with the federations because they could have avoided this situation. Even before the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the organisers preferred to host small tournaments to check the infrastructure and other facilities,” he added.

Secretary-general of the National Rifle Association of India, Baljeet Singh Sethi straightened things out. “The Ministry had been tipped off well in advance about the Commonwealth Championships in February next year. It is mandatory to host the event one year before the Commonwealth Games. We had to urge the International Shooting Sports Federation to postpone the championship by about four months, as the venue was not ready,” Sethi said.

Last month, the Wrestling Federation of India was forced to move the Commonwealth championship to Jalandhar because of the delays in completion of the venue. The World Badminton Championship was also shifted to Hyderabad and the Commonwealth Boxing Championship has been rescheduled from December this year to February-March 2010.