New Delhi/ Guwahati, July 29: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has finally decided to allow Assam to host the National Games in Guwahati from February 9 to 18, 2007.
Announcing the decision at a news conference in New Delhi today, IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said the IOA executive committee is convinced by and satisfied with the progress made by the Assam Olympic Association in hosting the Games.
“Assam was, in fact, ready to stage the Games in October this year, but we decided to shift them to February next year. The executive committee did consider the Assam offer of hosting them in October, but could not accept it since both the SAF Games and the Asian Games will be held this year,” Kalmadi said. “The committee felt it would be appropriate to stage the National Games in February 2007.”
The IOA has taken a lenient view on its decision to impose a Rs 1 crore fine on Assam for failing to meet the infrastructural deadline.
Former internationals from Assam ' Dipankar Bhattacharjee and Tayabun Nisha ' and sports organisers of the state have hailed the postponement of the 33rd National Games as a “very positive” development.
The players and organisers believe this would give more time to those in charge of infrastructure development and also to the teams for their preparations.
Former badminton Olym-pian and national champion Bhattacharjee said from Calcutta: “As a sportsperson, you get more time to prepare. Secondly, there won’t be any rush to give finishing touches to the infrastructure that has been set up for the event.”
Tayabun Nisha, veteran discus thrower, said: “Now Assam should focus on preparing the teams and use the postponement to bag as many golds as possible.”