Uncertainty over 35th National Games dates

Krishnadas Rajagopal
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Row over IOA leadsto lack of clarity

A busy sports calendar and lack of clarity from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on fixing the dates for the 35{+t}{+h}National Games may lead to a window opening for the conduct of the national event only towards the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.

At present, the National Games Kerala website shows the games would be held in February-March 2014.

The IOA, which conducts the games, has scheduled its fresh elections on February 9 following a year-long spat with the International Olympic Committee over the legality of its earlier elections.

Though the IOA may announce the actual dates for the National Games after deliberations following the polls, officials expect that the immediate concern would be the Asian Games, scheduled to be held at Incheon from September 19 to October 4, 2014.

Another reason for the extension of dates for the games is the southwest monsoon which hits Kerala in June and usually extends to October.

Final decision

Jacob Punnoose, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the National Games Secretariat, said the final decision on when to conduct the games is taken by the IOA.

“There is no delay caused by us due to lack of infrastructure preparedness,” he stressed.He said 80 per cent of the construction work has been completed. Of a total budget of Rs. 200 crore, Rs. 118 crore has already been spent.

But a document e-mailed by Mr. Punnoose on the progress of construction at event venues in the period between November 30, 2012 and December 31, 2013 shows only five of 32 minor and major works are marked ‘over’ or ‘completed’ as on the latter date. Expressions like ‘abandoned,’ ‘not thought of’ and ‘stuck up’ found, in the document, characterise the state of preparedness of the various event venues as on November 30, 2012. For example, construction of an indoor stadium to host the boxing and wrestling events at Mundayad in Kannur was ‘abandoned’ with zero progress made. Other major works like the gallery at the hockey stadium in Kollam, the squash court at CSN Stadium and the Vattiyoorkavu shooting range in the State capital also enjoyed the same status.

The document shows that work in Mundayad is 70 per cent over now. Again, the structure of the hockey stadium’s gallery in Kollam has been completed as of December 31, 2013.

However, the work on the hockey ground is marked ‘slow’ and that of the surface has only just been awarded.

In Thiruvananthapuram, the squash court is 75 per cent complete, while the shooting range is 65 per cent done. The renovation of the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Ernakulam, the venue for badminton and table tennis events, was described as ‘stuck up’ after 20 per cent work was done. The document shows that as on December 31, the work was restarted and 45 per cent completed. The document shows that floodlights for athletics events at the University Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram was ‘not thought of’ in November 2012.

Now, the tender has been finalised. Even the Games Village at Meenamkulam in the capital, meant to accommodate sportsmen and officials, is marked ‘no land’ on November 30, 2012. Its status as on December 31 shows 25 per cent of the work is over.

When asked why only five of the works are over while others are in various stages of completion, Mr. Punnoose responded that there are works which should be completed only four months prior to the event deadline like laying the turf. If done earlier, these facilities run the risk of damage, he said.

  • Row over IOA leads to lack of clarity on dates

  • Work on new stadiums yet to be completed




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