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Games legacy: Closed venues

india Updated: Jan 01, 2011 00:16 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times
Hindustan Times Exclusive

When thousands of crores were being pumped into building venues for the Commonwealth Games, one common refrain was the legacy it would leave for the country.

But two months after the closing ceremony, most venues — all of them government-owned — have been locked,
preventing athletes from training in world-class facilities. However, competitions are allowed at some stadiums.

The ongoing Basketball Nationals in the Capital is a case in point. The Delhi government turned down the Basketball Federation of India’s application to stage the event at Thyagaraja indoor stadium, where the required three courts could be laid.

This has forced the organisers to hold matches on outdoor courts at Modern School, Barakhamba Road as Talkatora indoor stadium, the main venue, has only one court.

The country's top pistol shooter, Samresh Jung, is among those frustrated. It is unfortunate indoor facilities for rifle and pistol disciplines at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges are yet to be opened for players, he said.

He was among the 15-odd shooters, some of them Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medallists, who had approached officials at the Karni Singh ranges to allow them to train there. They got no response. “Officials at the range have been telling us the indoor ranges will start functioning soon. But it has been over a month, and I’m yet to hear from them,” Jung told HT.

It's the same story at the Nehru Stadium. The country's top track-and-field stars as well as DDA academy trainees trained here, but it is now shut. HS Kingra, a senior sports ministry official with SAI, however, said all venues were open for training under SAI's pay-and-play scheme.

But this is easier said then done. There are certain norms that even top athletes need to fulfill to be allowed inside. And the message hasn't reached the players, many of whom are hoping to make the grade for the 2012 London Olympics.