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Games fever draws Delhiites to stadiums

As the Commonwealth Games draws to a close, Delhiites are thronging the stadia and it’s not for the love of sports.

delhi Updated: Oct 14, 2010 01:00 IST
Manoj Sharma

As the Commonwealth Games draws to a close, Delhiites are thronging the stadia and it’s not for the love of sports.

It is not unusual to see people frantically clicking pictures with family and friends inside the stadia. And Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is a favourite venue with Delhiites for these family photo sessions.

“I know nothing about sports. But I just wanted to be part of the Games and let my daughter get a feel of the mega sporting event. After all, we do not know when the country will again get such a mega event,” said Pratibha Gupta, a resident of Preet Vihar who had come to see the event with her seven-year-old daughter at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. On Tuesday, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was packed to capacity with thousands of children in the crowd soaking in the sounds and sights at the flood-lit stadium.

The event they had come for was athletics, something, neither parents, nor children had ever heard of. Nevertheless, they cheered at every announcement of winners, even if it was a non-Indian athlete.

Mukesh Kapoor, 31, who had come all the way from Sarita Vihar with his 68-year-old father and 64- year old mother, could barely figure out what was happening on the ground, but that did not dampen his enthusiasm.

“I do not understand the rules of any games here. But I did not want to be left out of this grand sporting event,” he said.

Kapoor also plans to preserve the Games tickets.

In the past few days, ticket counters at various stadia have been witnessing long queues desperately seeking tickets for any event at any venue.

“Initially, I thought these Games were not worth spending time and money on. But then India’s gold rush and sudden spurt of excitement around the Games made me feel I am missing something big. Thankfully I managed to get hold of a ticket for a Table Tennis event,” said Raman Verma, who waited in queue for two hours at Yamuna Sports Complex for the ticket.

In fact, many Delhiites took leave from office to see the Games, and those who could not, stepped out of their offices for a few hours with ‘special permission’ from the boss.

“I requested my boss to let me go out for a couple of hours to see a rugby event. But unfortunately I could not see any of the events with my family,” said Amit Jain, an executive working with a real estate company in Connaught Place.