Targets gone awry

Targets gone awry

Yamuna Sports Complex

Of all the agencies working on infrastructure for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has probably faced the most flak for missing deadlines. The Yamuna Sports Complex, being renovated by DDA, is no exception. It missed several deadlines, including the latest on Tuesday. The venue, which will host the table tennis and archery events, was damaged during the monsoon. Parts of the false ceiling at the indoor table tennis stadium collapsed on 13 July after a heavy downpour, and dripping water damaged parts of the special maplewood flooring, which had to be replaced. Then, the approach road to the venue, right outside the main entrance, caved in on 21 August.

Also See The Complex (PDF)

The venue has also faced criticism from the Archery Association of India, whose general secretary, Paresh Nath Mukherjee, questioned the very need to build a Rs12.5 crore dedicated venue for archery. There is a valid reason for this—temporary venues are usually used for archery, including at the Olympics, because dedicated stadiums have little reuse value (archery competitions are rare and infrequent). At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, for example, the common green area was turned into a temporary venue, and was later turned into a recreation area.

The indoor table tennis arena faced no such objections: With its two show-court tables, eight match tables and 10 warm-up tables, it will be one of the busiest venues during the Games. It also features seating for 4,297 people and has electronic scoreboards. India’s performance in the sport has raised hopes of a good medal haul this year, and A. Sharath Kamal, the nation’s top paddler, features in the top 40 players in the world. Kamal became the first Indian to win a singles title on the International Table Tennis Federation’s pro-tour when he won the 2010 Egypt Open. He also won gold at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, and was instrumental in India winning the silver medal in the team competition.

Text by Rudraneil Sengupta; Graphic by Uttam Sharma/Mint