Doha Athletes' Village mesmerises athletes

The village has been divided into three zones -- public zone, international zone and residential zone.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2006 14:22 IST

One of the several eye-catching structures built in Doha for the Asian Games is the Athletes' Village that has all the facilities that athletes can ask for, including a bank, post office, a hairdressing salon etc.

The village, located in the heart of the Qatari capital and behind the famous Hamad Medical Hospital, will accommodate more than 11,000 athletes and officials for the December 1-15, 2006 games.

India's ace shooter Anjali Ved Pathak was awestruck when she stepped inside the village for the first time.

"It is fantastic," she exclaimed. "Before coming to Doha, I could never imagine that Doha would welcome athletes with such a superb facility."

The Mumbai-based Anjali also lauded the variety and quality of food available at the village athletes' dinning hall.

"More than 75 percent Indians seem to be working in dining and catering," she said.

Anjali said that she was pleasantly surprised when one of the staff could even speak Marathi, the shooter's mother tongue.

The village, which was officially opened on November 15, 2006 has been divided into three zones -- public zone, international zone and residential zone. Public zone comprises the media centre, press workrooms and the media sub-centre, guest pass centre and protocol zone.

The international zone is accessible to all guests of the village as well as media representatives. It has the flag plaza where teams' welcome ceremonies are to be conducted.

The retail centre includes bank, post office, dry cleaning facility, photo shop, local cultural studio, hairdressing salon, ticketing office, internet stations, car rentals, coffee, snack shops and general merchandising.

The residential zone is reserved for athletes, team officials and village workforce. It consists of leisure and recreation centre, running track, athletes' dining hall and staff dining.

The media from more than 60 nations has widely acclaimed the main media centre.

India's woman table tennis player Poulomi Ghatak echoed Anjali's views.

"We came on Monday and we are just praising the facilities here. It is really fabulous," she said.

Remarked secretary general of the Fencing Association of India, Arun Vij, "The facilities are the best and never seen before."

Vij said before coming to Doha, they did not anticipate so much of greenery in the Qatari capital. But once he took a look at the excellent landscaping of the Athletes' Village and its lush green grass he quickly changed his opinion.

Nazima Khan, a functionary of the Indian Olympic Association, was also mesmerised by the facility.

"The games organisers have surpassed the facilities offered at the previous Asian Games. I am hopeful that athletes and officials will have a gala time here."

After the games, the Qatar government will hand over the state-of-the-art village to the Hamad Medical Corporation for residential purpose -- as if to prolong the games' legacy.

The village will officially close December 18, 2006.

First Published: Nov 29, 2006 14:22 IST