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Dates set, now Dhoni

Ranchi, Dec. 4: The state government, along with Jharkhand Olympic Association (JOA) , today decided to give another shot at hosting the much maligned 34th National Games and agreed to the February 2011 dates put forth by the Indian Olympic Association.

Both the government and the JOA promised to ensure that “things will be ready on time” so that the Games were held from February 12 to February 26, next year. And if things did fall in place, Team India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni could well grace the opening or closing ceremony.

Today’s announcement came after a high-level meeting was chaired by chief minister Arjun Munda, who even hinted that equestrian events might be shifted to Jamshedpur since he felt the state capital might not be able to complete pending work on time.

Directing all Games officials to ensure that all pending work was completed on time, he scheduled a review meeting for December 9.

“Some of the technical glitches being faced by the organisers was discussed. We are committed to holding the Games as scheduled,” Munda said, adding that the state had enough infrastructure, all of which was lying idle at present, for hosting the Games.

JOA chief R.K. Anand, who is also working chairman of National Games Organising Committee, claimed all hurdles had been removed and the Games would be held as per the revise schedule.

He also claimed that terraflex, material required at basketball and volleyball courts, would be procured soon.

Deputy chief minister Sudesh Mahto, who was also present during the meeting, said that the state would also try to ensure the presence of Dhoni during the opening or the closing ceremony.

Mahto, who also holds the sports portfolio, added that a request to the Board of Control for Cricket in India would be sent soon.

The 34th National Games was originally scheduled to be held from November 15, 2007. It has been postponed six times since then.

Considering the magnitude of pending work, the state government’s promise of holding the Games within 10 weeks looks extremely challenging. It had expressed its inability to hold the Games from 9 December 2010, because of panchayat elections.

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