When he first saw it, Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) chief Hee Wok Cho was so impressed with Delhi’s cycling velodrome that he gushed about it with top officials in the UCI but a little over two years later, he is disappointed with the venue’s maintenance.
Cho, who is in the capital to catch the action at the Hero Asian Cycling Championships, spoke of his disappointment about the venue which was prepared for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
“The maintenance of the velodrome is disappointing. I am not happy with it,” Cho said through a translator on the sidelines of the event on Thursday.
“Maintenance is a problem. The electronic display for example is not working. I have conveyed this to the Cycling Federation of India (CFI),” he added, pointing to the equipment.
“Two years ago, it looked world-class. I spoke about it with UCI and told them, how good this velodrome is. I praised it a lot but I am disappointed with the maintenance,” he elaborated.
Another issue he discussed with the CFI was the problems that the teams from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan faced in getting visas to India. In fact the latter three failed to make it to the event.
“I feel terribly sorry that entry visas were not granted.
All countries should get visas, which took a long time. It is terrible because sports should be free of political considerations. Sport is sport, no politics. The CFI promised to give maximum help,” he said.
Asked if tough visa norms could affect India’s chances of hosting an event of such a magnitude in the future, Cho said it is possible.
“If there is no problem with visas, then no problem in having events in India,” he said.
Besides, the UCI vice-president also said that he is a “little unhappy” with the food as well.
“Some cyclists have said that they would have wanted better food,” he said.
But overall, he is satisfied with the arrangements for the championships, which began on Thursday.
“This facility is good but needs maintenance. But I am ok with the arrangements overall, they are ok,” he said.
“India has very good potential and it has the capability to develop cycling,” he added.
The ACC congress will meet on March 12 and in attendance would be UCI chief Pat Macquaid.
“We will be deciding our representatives to the UCI and I would want CFI President Parwinder Singh Dhindsa to become a Managing Board member of the UCI,” he said.