Whether it was the World Cup hockey, Commonwealth shooting championship or the upcoming International archery test event for the Commonwealth Games, the days leading to these competitions have been horrific for the media needing access to the venues.
The Yamuna Sports Complex, venue of the four-day 10-nation meet that commences on Tuesday, resembles a fortress. Entry is strictly restricted but what a pity that no spectator will be allowed for the event.
The incomplete venue has been the biggest worry for the Archery Association of India (AAI). The AAI has been begging the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to ready at least four rest rooms for the competition.
Worried about the magnitude of incomplete work at the venue, the AAI shockingly ignored most other organisational aspects, particularly the streamlining of entry to the venue.
On Monday, the eve of the event, it was clear that those in authority had not learnt their lessons. The mess continued with the AAI leaving everything for the eleventh hour. The security men are doing their job but the AAI and the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games have failed miserably to ensure smooth entry of participants, officials and mediapersons.
The organisers were shown in very poor light on Sunday when some visiting teams were made to wait for more than two hours. They had come for a training session. It transpired later that the security forces were asked to “sanitize” the venue after the teams had arrived.
It was no different for AAI president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who was stopped at the entrance on Monday. Malhotra could get in only after he spoke to Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna.
The mediamen, after a long wait, were told to return on Tuesday to collect their accreditations, which effectively means, they miss the qualification rounds in recurve.
As for the competition, the field is depleted. Australia and Canada have stayed away while England, New Zealand and Malaysia have sent only their second string teams. India, thus, is expected to sweep all our team gold medals and remains firm favourite for the individual titles.