CHENNAI: In a major hiccup for the South Asian Games organizing committee, hockey and shooting may have to be shifted out of Guwahati due to incomplete venues and lack of equipment. This was apparently suggested during a meeting between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Sports Authority of India, governments of Assam and Meghalaya on Wednesday. A member who attended the meeting said both hockey and shooting officials suggested, if worse comes to worst, the venues be shifted to New Delhi.
The Hockey India has been notified, as well as the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI). Since shooting, being a precision sport, needs a lot of high-powered equipment, the national federation felt it would not have enough time to install it.Delhi is planning to host the final Olympic Games qualifying tournament in January-February next year, just a few days before the South Asian Games begin in Guwahati and Shillong from February 6 to 16.
“We’ve made a bid for the Olympic qualifier for Asia and if that happens, which is very likely then we will not have time to shift the equipment from Delhi to Guwahati,” explained Rajiv Bhatia, secretary general of the NRAI. Shooting might get over around February 3.
“Our president has told the organisers and IOA that it would be better if the event is held in Delhi, because most of the shooters from Asian nations will be here. That will involve less money. We have requested the IOA, let’s see what happens. But installing equipment at such short notice will be difficult,” he said.
IOA president N Ramachandran who attended the meeting clarified that everything will depend on the South Asian Games council. “They’ve requested for it and we will forward this to the Games council who will be the final authority to decide,” Ramachandran told Express from Delhi. “Even HI has some requests regarding participation of women’s team. So we will discuss these issues with the SAG council.”
If sources are to be believed the women’s hockey event might be scrapped due to lack of participating teams. It is learnt at least four teams are required to host an international event and SAG countries might not field so many teams. “We have our concerns but nothing can be ruled out,” said HI chief Narinder Batra.
“I don’t think more than three teams participated so we have asked them about it. It is mandatory to have at least four.”
While explaining the turf in Guwahati, Batra said it was not ready. “I think it’s the problem of the vendor,” he said. “The government has approached us and we will definitely help them out. They help us in so many ways so we will not let them down. You just need two to three weeks to lay the turf. We suggested if something goes wrong we are ready to host in Delhi.”