With twelve days to go for the inaugural of the 37th National Games, infrastructure for the event is almost in shape, though a visit to all venues indicated that most won’t be platforms for players to produce their best.
From Navelim in South Goa to Duler in North Goa, where most playing surfaces are in place, dressing rooms, washrooms and in some place even playing areas are hurriedly being readied.
The Manohar Parrikar Indoor stadium in Navelim has no air-conditioning and basketball which is being hosted there will be played with just coolers attempting to bring down the temperatures. This has already left the Goa probables unhappy.
“The conditions are very humid and without AC it is going to take a toll on all players. You can feel the heat and these are definitely not the best conditions to compete in,” stated a Goa basketball probable during a practice water break.
If the basketball players are set to start trying to control their burnout, roll balls players will have to be extra cautious as the lawn of the surface is yet to be laid, though work on levelling was almost complete.
On October 13 the lawn tennis courts were getting ready but work on the players' changing rooms – that are pretty away from the courts – was still on, with organisers claiming that mobile toilets were being organised for players as well as officials.
“I have just spoken to the individuals concerned in the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) and they have confirmed that there were no plans of having AC in Navelim, work in other places will be ready before the start,” Srinet Kothwale, Additional Collector, who was having an interaction with officials at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, said.
“We expect maximum people to come for the football matches. Our past experience has shown us that hardly anyone comes to witness other sports and that is why the emphasis has been more here,” Kothwale said.
Work which had started on the wooden flooring at the sports complex in Duler on September 20 (see article dated September 20) is complete and the air-conditioning is functional, including in the boxing room at the stadium.
Srinet Kothwale, Additional Collector
Temporary structures are still being erected next to the swimming pool in Campal where games like wushu, weightlifting, mallakhamb, gatka, yogasana, lagori, judo and kalaripayattu will be hosted. SAG is confident of their functionality, though here, too, mobile toilets are expected to be used.
The Tilak Maidan in Vasco is bracing for a new coat of colour, whilst the squash courts and lawn ball surfaces in Chicalim are waiting to feel the intensity that will be brought in by participants from 28 States and eight Union Territories.
Ponda Sports Complex which will be hosting modern pentathlon, taekwondo and kho-kho is ready to face athletes, though workmen were seen pruning up the place and removing cobwebs that could be irritants to spectators.
Except for areas specified, finishing touches are being given to the stadia that are in glare of the public. “We do not expect people attending many of the games and with holidays declared during the games, things could be worse because most families move away for holidays,” stated a senior SAG official.
But a full house has been ensured for the opening ceremony. “Some 12,000 school children have been organised to be present for the opening ceremony by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which will begin at 6 pm and end at 8 pm,” stated an SAG official.
The National Games is about sportspeople and the facilities provided for them and their satisfaction will define how well Goa has prepared for the 37th National Games.