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Shillong is ready

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‘Tikhor’, the playful rhino which has been named the mascot of the SAG, stares at you from every corner of the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex here.

As you enter the football ‘B’ ground, you see a handful of archers practising, with Indian compound men’s chief coach Dhaneshwar Maida keenly watching.

Speaking to The Hindu, Dhaneshwar says the Indian team will aim for nothing less than gold.

Asked whether the cold weather would be a deterrent, the coach says the team’s short camp in Sonepat, with similar conditions, has helped. “Our players are individually ranked higher,” he says.

“It will be a clean sweep,” says Rajat Chauhan, India’s No.1 compound archer. Abhishek Verma, the second best Indian men’s archer, concurs: “Ninety nine per cent, it will be India.”

At the other end of the football ground, preparations are underway. “We have been working around the clock for the last month,” says Ranjan Bhoumick, Chairman of Judges. “The ‘test’ event we conducted was a success. We had a checklist of 48 items and everything has been ticked.”

A portion of the ‘B’ ground will be used for spectators. “The seating capacity will be 300-400,” says F.B. Chyne, the venue administrator.

R.K. Sharma, CEO of the Games in Shillong, is visiting all the venues to ensure everything is in place. “We are Games-ready,” he says.

The only major challenge has been accommodation. “Since we don’t have a Games village, accommodating the players in a small city with few quality hotels has been tough, but we have sorted that out,” he says.

Sharma says there has been demand for tickets for boxing and badminton. Mary Kom will be competing; Saina Nehwal, however, hasn’t confirmed participation. .

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:28:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/12th-south-asian-games-shillong-is-ready/article8189910.ece

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