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Games Village facilities impress all

other Updated: Sep 17, 2010 02:38 IST
Shalabh Manocha
Shalabh Manocha
Hindustan Times

With just over a fortnight to go for the Commonwealth Games the Games Village, which will be home to over 7,000 athletes and officials from 53 countries, had a soft opening on Thursday.

The complex has all the modern facilities that will be used by the athletes during the mega event.

A kitchen, where meals for nearly 40,000 people will be prepared every day, is just one aspect of the huge complex. It has a training and recreational area comprising of two swimming pools (a splash and a practice pool), practice area for wrestlers, weightlifters, powerlifters, a gymnasium and an eight-lane athletic track.

The talking point of the training area is the gymnasium. It has every modern machine that an athlete requires to maintain fitness levels.

"All the equipment used in the gym is top-class, be it the treadmills or the equipment such as leg curls and crossovers among others," said Village operation assistant coordinator Cyrus Appoo.

The treadmills, which were planned earlier, had created a huge controversy after allegations flew thick and fast that the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) had rented each piece for Rs 9.5 lakh.

Later, the Delhi Development Authority purchased the treadmills from Fitness World and other equipment from Body Solid.

Another attraction at the training area is the two swimming pools.

However, the touch pads at the practice pool are still missing which an official confirmed would not be fixed at all.

On how will the stadium be utilised after the Gaems, OC chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, said, "It will be for the people and the DDA to figure out."

To the right of the training zone is the international zone which has a shopping area along with a saloon, laundry and a general store which will cater to the needs of officials and athletes. The Chef de Mission from Wales, Chris Jenkins, who was at the Village, looked satisfied with the facilities.

"The training facilities are really good, the security is fine and it is a good place. I am satisfied with whatever I have seen here."

Even the OC officials claimed that work at the Village was complete but the media was allowed to visit only two of the 34 towers. The furnishing in those two towers left a lot to be desired.

On the security concerns, the Commonwealth Games Federation CEO, Mike Hooper said, "Security has and will always be a concern in an event like this but the Indian government assured us in 2003 that they will make proper arrangements for a safe and secure games. So far, things are looking good.

However, we cannot take things lightly till every athlete who comes to India goes back safely." Hooper added that the Games will see the highest number of security personnel deployed ever during an event like this anywhere in the world.

Suresh Kalmadi too praised the Delhi Police security at the Games Village. “The security persons so far have done a great job. We’ve been very well supported by Delhi Police and we hope to make the Games a success.”