SPORT

Wet weather hasn't dampened their spirits

Hyderabad Oct. 22. Incessant rain over the last two days has hampered the preparation of the teams who are here to take part in the Afro- Asian Games. However, a majority of them are trying to do their best under difficult circumstances. The practice sessions of several teams, the rehearsals of cultural troupes and participants in the opening day's programmes have been badly hit.

This kind of weather is typical at this time of the year. Unfortunately for the organisers of the Afro-Asian Games it has happened at the worst possible time and created problems just when the Games were ready to get underway. The city and its surrounding areas, including Gachibowli, are in for more rains over the next 24 hours.

This is bad news for sports lovers who are hoping to see some action. Though the sun made an appearance this afternoon, more sunshine is what the fans and organisers are praying for. As far as hockey is concerned, the matches are expected to go ahead as per schedule since astro-turf does not get affected by rain.

The most adaptive have been the footballers who have taken the bad weather in their stride. The Gymkhana ground in Secunderabad, which usually has domestic cricket matches played on it, was utilised for the football teams' practice sessions. This morning, the usual crowd of office-goers, who were braving the inclement weather and trudging their way to the workspots, stopped for a few minutes, taken aback by the unusual sight of foreign football players going through a practice session on the cricket ground.

Many of them had a word of appreciation for the dedication of the players who they watched through the wire fencing at the ground. Despite the dark grey skies, gusty winds and constant drizzle, the teams from Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan went through their routines with tremendous enthusiasm. The depressing conditions did not seem to have diminished their zeal to polish their skills for the matches ahead.

The newly-laid turf at the Lal Bahadur stadium, the venue for football, has taken a lot of pounding for the past two days. In the morning, there was a couple of inches of water all over the ground and according to the chief curator, Ganu, at least 24 hours of good weather was needed for it to dry up.

Mr. Ganu advised the top brass of the All India Football Federation, including its President, P.R. Das Munshi, and Secretary, Alberto Colaco, regarding the playing conditions. Luckily for the football fans, the first match got underway in the afternoon and the Indian team gave them something to cheer about with a well-deserved win.

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