The newly-constructed archery arena at the Yamuna Sports Complex was formally but hurriedly inaugurated on Thursday with plenty of work still needs to make it even remotely presentable ahead of the next month’s “test event” involving 10 countries.

The Invitational Commonwealth Games Archery Test event is slated to be held from March 8 to 12. The event offers medals in four sections for men and women.

On Thursday, the Archery Association of India President Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra opened the archery stadium and did not take long to urge the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to speed up the work.

As things stand, only the seating area looks close to complete. The separate areas for training and competition present a poor picture.

With no time to cover a large area of the competition arena, patches of grass were being strategically placed in a bid to make it “ready” before the archers begin to arrive in the second part of next week.

Malhotra said that DDA and MCD have assured him that all the debris would be removed in the next four days. Roads would be laid and parking areas readied next week.

In the midst of an otherwise gloomy scenario, AAI’s Secretary General Paresh Mukherjee chose to strike an optimistic note. “We will hold a grand event. I’ve requested the authorities to ensure that at least four toilets are ready for use for the event. The venue will undergo a complete transformation in the days to come.”

To speed up the pending work in and around the archery arena, all the workers from the adjacent under-constructed table tennis hall have been pressed into service.

The Indian archers, expected to sweep all eight gold medals at stake, are currently undergoing training at Kolkata. “They will come to the Capital only on March 6 because I cannot allow them to practise here.

If I allow practice, all the grass will be off even before the competition commences,” was the genuine concern of Mr. Mukherjee.

Commonwealth nations like England, New Zealand, Welsh, Singapore, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Jersey, Scotland and Malaysia join the host in four days of competition. India will field fielded 32 archers, aided by 10 coaches and two managers for the event.

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