Major works for South Asian Games still under constructionThe authorities reiterate all preparations for the regional sporting extravaganza will be complete before December 1 kick-off.
As the South Asian Games organising committee officially marked the 15-day countdown of the sub-continental sports festival on Saturday, some of the major infrastructures including the main venue for the opening and closing ceremonies are still under construction even as the authorities expressed their confidence that everything will be ready before the Games kick off on December 1.
Dashrath Stadium, the principal venue of the 10-day sporting extravaganza, is yet to get the final shape. The heating system installed new swimming facilities at the Satdobato Sports Complex is not complete.
At Pokhara Stadium, the grass turf is patchy and the beautification incomplete. In Kathmandu, tonnes of garbage needs to be removed from Dashrath stadium premises. Name registration of players and coaches is yet to complete. Yet, Ramesh Kumar Silwal, the member secretary of the National Sports Council and the coordinator of the Work Execution Committee, was confident of fixing all the remaining works by November 26.
“Regarding the infrastructure, most of the works are in the last phase. The swimming pool at Satdobato will be in operation within a week. The work of installing the truss and other stands at the VIP parapet will complete by Sunday and the installation of the roof will begin on Monday. Technicians to install the roof have already arrived in Nepal,” Silwal told the press conference. He added that getting Pokhara Stadium ready was the only major challenge ahead of the Games. Another major concern is parched playing field at Pokhara Stadium but Silwal dismissed the matter as “not a big deal”.
Though he said that beautification of the Dashrath Stadium premises would be completed in two days, he added that the derbies will be removed by three days.
Silwal also said that Nepal as the hosts have targeted to net at least 50 gold medals at the Games. The previous best haul of Nepal was 31 gold medals during the 1999 Games in Kathmandu. “Considering out preparations and 27 events in comparison to 12 events in the 1999 events, we have set the target of winning at least 50 gold medals,” he said.
The opening ceremony will last for 3 hours 14 minutes, Silwal informed the press, assuring that the organisers will leave no stone unturned to make the event a grand success. “The opening ceremony will feature cultural shows representing all seven provinces of the country,” he said.
The Games will bring together more than 6,000 participants, including 3,252 athletes, from seven South Asian countries. Of the 27 events in the Games, 21 will be held in Kathmandu, nine in Pokhara and one in Janakpur. Janakpur will play host to wrestling while football, cricket and volleyball are set for both Pokhara and Kathmandu.
Players of 21 games are sent abroad for specialised training while those for nine games are training in the country under the supervision of foreign coaches. The government has allocated around Rs 4.5 billion for the event, of which Rs 1.62 billion has been spent on infrastructure and the rest on the event hosting.