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PM opens CWG sports injuries centre; stadia lockdown delayed

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today inaugurated a sports injuries centre for the Commonwealth Games. But there was another hiccup on the organisational front as the security agencies could not complete the lockdown of all the venues and the Village.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2010 20:59 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday inaugurated a sports injuries centre for the Commonwealth Games. But there was another hiccup on the organisational front as the security agencies could not complete the lockdown of all the venues and the Village with work still in progress at some of the sites.

The police, however, operationalised exclusive lanes on important roads Sunday to facilitate Games-related traffic.

Also on Sunday, two more Australian athletes pulled out from the Oct 3-14 Games citing security and health concerns. Cyclist Travis Meyer and table tennis player Stephanie Sang had withdrawn from the event, Australian Associated Press reported.

On the brighter side, champion swimmers Ashley Callus of Australia and England's Jenna Randall said they will definitely travel to New Delhi and the problems related to the Games have not had a negative impact on them.

The Rs.700 million ($15 million) sports injuries centre in the Safdarjung Hospital here will cater to sportspersons during the Games. It will be open to the public after the Games.

The 35-bed centre has three modular operation theatres with pre-operative and post-operative rooms and a two-bed ICU in the post-operative room.

High-end equipment like MRI, CT scan, bone densitometry, digital X-ray and colour doppler and laboratory services have been outsourced on a revenue sharing basis in the public-private-partnership mode.

Speaking about the slippages in the security lockdown, which was to have been completed Saturday midnight, a Delhi Police officer said: "Work is still on at the Games main venue Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Games Village and some other venues. We have been told that the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be handed over to us by Sunday night and the Games Village by Monday."

Home Minister P. Chidambaram had Sep 23 asked the Games Organising Committee to complete all work at venues by Friday night and hand them over to the Delhi Police for the lockdown.

The police had earlier decided on a complete security lockdown a month before the Oct 3-14 event. The lockdown was then planned from Sep 15 but it was extended to Wednesday midnight.

Around 85,000 policemen in uniform and plain clothes, and 20,000 paramilitary commandos will be deployed in and around the Games stadia.

According to Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police, (Traffic), the exclusive traffic lanes will be from the Games Village, NH 24, Ring Road up to the Barapullah flyover, 4th Avenue, Lodhi Road, Safdarjung Road, Kamal Ataturk Marg and Panchsheel Marg.

"These Games lanes will be maintained up to Oct 16," said Garg.

He said public will be able to use the dedicated lanes on other stretches for their movement except for the time when there is Games related movement.

Though the route from the Games Village to competition venues and the airport has a dedicated lane, there will be no such facility for practice venues.

The lane restrictions are not applicable to Delhi Police vehicles, ambulances, fire tenders and other emergency services vehicles.

Commenting on the withdrawal of the Australian athletes, the country's Commonwealth Games chief Perry Crosswhite said he was disappointed that it had happened just a week from the start of the event but respected the athletes' decisions.

"I am disappointed on the basis that these Games will be a good experience particularly for all the athletes who come to it and of course we wouldn't be here if we didn't think the security was not being organised well and at the level it should be," Crosswhite said.

Australia's athletes will begin arriving in Delhi from Monday morning.

Speaking about his trip to New Delhi, swimmer Ashley said: "There is excitement because I am heading to my fourth Commonwealth Games, but there is also anxiousness to see what it is actually like over there."

"They keep us updated on security issues and how the Games Village is coming along and with this information everyone can make informed decisions," The Courier Mail quoted Callus as saying.

"For me, personally, the events in Delhi have not impacted on my motivation or want to go and compete. I am 110 per cent ready to rock 'n' roll," said the 31-year-old who won a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and a bronze at 2008 Beijing edition.

English medal hope at the Games Jenna Randall insisted reports from Delhi have not put off her preparations as she bids to further raise the profile of synchronised swimming.

The 21-year-old will leave for her training base in Doha Monday and will head to Delhi from there.

Randall, who will compete in Delhi alongside long-time duet partner Olivia Allison, remains committed to the English cause. She is determined to not only travel to India but also improve on the silver she won in Melbourne four years ago.

"I am just concentrating on training and trying to get the best out of the time before the Commonwealth Games, because we leave Monday," Randall told Eurosport.

"We are focusing on training and putting in our best performance at the Games. Everything else is out of our hands. We just have to concentrate on what we do."

The next step on Randall's career path will be to go one better than 2006 and claim gold at the Commonwealth Games next month. And, after that, an Olympic medal.

"The Commonwealth Games are definitely a stepping stone to Olympic glory," she said."It is a major competition for us and every competition is great for us to go out there and improve Great Britain's reputation in synchronised swimming."

Some 7,000 participants and officials from 71 teams are expected to attend the Commonwealth Games, India's biggest sporting event since the 1982 Asian Games.

First Published: Sep 26, 2010 20:55 IST