Less than a couple of days remain for the much-delayed 12th South Asian Games to kick off. Having led a small team through the last 90 days or so, the Organising Committee CEO, Injeti Srinivas, on Wednesday claimed they were fully geared up to host the event.
Srinivas, who is also the Director General of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), said the event could not have come at a more opportune time and hoped that its successful conduct would open a new chapter in the relations between countries of the region.
“We had such a small time-frame to work in but still it gives me immense satisfaction when I look back. Of course, our work will not be completed until all the competitions are over and each participant has returned home,” he said.
“I am sure there will be problems over the next fortnight but as of now, I have no hesitation in saying that we are completely ready to host a unique Games.
“These Games is unique in more ways than one. Firstly, this is the first time that the Games are being held in two cities. Secondly, we have been able to ensure a fair amount of gender equality than in the past, as Guwahati and Shillong put together will have more women participating in the event.”
The SAI Director-General said that efforts were on to complete the Games well within the budgeted of Rs. 93 crore, of which Rs. 83 crore were released as grant by the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. “The rest of the amount has been raised through sponsorships from major Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs). But overall, when you add up the figures of Rs. 36 crore allotted to the Assam Government and Rs. 7 crore to the Meghalaya Government for sprucing up the stadia for the competitions and the amounts spent by the National Highways Authority of India for re-surfacing the highways, the total will be somewhere in the region of Rs. 200 crore.
“The most difficult hurdle has been to keep the various stake-holders together. But here again, I think we have fairly been successful in our efforts. Normally, it should have been the Indian Olympic Association playing the host, but it was on the request of the IOA that a separate organising committee was formed to host the event in two cities. The IOA, however, will be in charge with the conduct of the Games through the various National Sports Federations affiliated to it, though we will also be having a small part in it.
“This is because the various functional areas come under us and there has to be coordination with all the stake-holders. Hopefully, we will have a memorable fortnight ahead of us and the Games will be remembered for long,” he signed off.
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