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No crowd for test event

other Updated: Apr 01, 2010 22:54 IST
Deepti Patwardhan

If the release from the communications department of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee is to be believed, Delhiites are in for a feast of rugby during the two-day Test event at the Delhi University North Campus.

Ironically, Delhiites will not be allowed in the stadium to witness the event.

The top eight Asian Sevens teams will compete for supremacy on Friday and Saturday. But the Delhi police have decided to hold the tournament behind closed doors.

“It’s part of security measures,” Rugby India vice-president Aga Hussian told HT. “The stands in the main stadium have not been constructed yet and Delhi police is wary of letting people in. When it comes to security, we can’t really argue with them.”

According to Hussain, they were told about the situation four days ago. “The whole problem is, players are now saying what do we really play for?”

A tournament release from the CWG committee on Thursday said, ‘Delhiites can look forward to a fast and furious long weekend as top eight Asian rugby sevens teams including Pakistan battle it out for supremacy in the Asian Rugby Sevens Invitational Tournament.’

Not only will the Indian team lose on local support, by keeping the audience away from the event, which is supposed to be a run-up to the Rugby Sevens event at Commonwealth Games, they are denying an opportunity to spread awareness about the sport.

“It’s a test event for the Commonwealth Games,” said captain of the Indian team, Nasser Hussain. “The players are disappointed because it was the first time at home that an event like this was taking place. Crowd support would have made the difference. This could have also been a chance to market the game.” Besides hosts India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brunei, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are the other teams in the fray.