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Two cities pass Games fitness test

Jamshedpur, Aug. 3: It’s official. Dhanbad and Jamshedpur have been declared “fit” to host the 34th National Games, which, according to all indications, seem all set to be held in Jharkhand in November.

The steering committee of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) came out with the vedict today after panel chairman A.K. Mattoo, who had inspected facilities at both Dhanbad and Jamshedpur over the past two days, said both cities were ready for the Games.

The committee now moves to Ranchi to inspect facilities at the sports complex in Hotwar and also the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.

Mattoo had conducted the inspection in Dhanbad on August 1. A similar exercise was undertaken in Jamshedpur yesterday. The panel chairman had also met East Singhbhum deputy commissioner and chairman of National Games Co-ordination Committee (Jamshedpur) R.K. Agarwal to discuss the preparations.

“I am very happy with the facilities available here. All the grounds were found okay and the residential wing at JRD Tata Sports Complex was neat and clean. It also has sufficient space for accommodating the participating athletes,” Mattoo told reporters.

He added that facilities and equipment were also in place. But the girls’ hostel needed upgradation. The ground near the hostel needed levelling and the pathway also needed repairs.

“Besides, we have discussed other organisational issues with officials of state sports bodies during our visit there,” Mattoo said.

The steering committee chairman was also satisfied with the facilities at Dhanbad and had found the sports hostel there impressive.

While Jamshedpur will be hosting boxing, archery, weightlifting and women’s football, Dhanbad would play host to water sports, sepak takraw, net ball and squash.

According to Mattoo, the IOA will give no further extension for the Games in Jharkhand. “The schedule — November 21 to December 5 — is final. There will be no further extension,” he said, adding that things had finally fallen into place as far as organising the Games was concerned.

Also rejecting the idea of any further delay, S.M. Hashmi, the secretary-general of the National Games Organising Committee (NGOC), said that they had requested the Election Commission (EC) to consider the schedule of the mega event before announcing dates for the Assembly polls in the state.

“The EC, on its part, has contacted the state election panel to follow up,” he said.

Hashmi is already taking steps for the smooth conduct of the Games. “We are sending accreditation cards to athletes from 32 participating states by post so that they will not have to contact the reception panel here. We are also nominating a liaison officer for the Games,” he said.

According to him, a deputy chef de mission will be posted at Jamshedpur and Dhanbad while a chef de mission will be posted at Ranchi.

Mattoo is scheduled to visit the multipurpose sports complex in Hotwar, Ranchi, tomorrow. He will also inspect the Astroturf hockey stadium and Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.

He is scheduled to meet with the governor’s advisory council, NGOC and members of the sports department followed by a meeting with the Governor on Thursday.

The government is spending Rs 800-850 crore for the Games, including Rs 70 crore for equipment.

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