Despite the delay in procuring equipment and completing infrastructure, the National Games will take place as scheduled, the organisers said on Friday.
The 35th edition of the Olympic-style event is slated to take place in seven districts across Kerala from January 31 to February 14. But there were serious doubts over the state’s preparedness after they failed to procure sports equipment in time in the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
However, after a two-day inspection by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials that concluded on Friday, they were assured by the organisers that all the equipment will be in place latest by January 26 and all incomplete work will be done by then. It is learnt that the equipment for gymnastics and javelin throw is yet to reach Kerala while the hockey stadium and shooting range are still incomplete.
The IOA officials are likely to conduct another inspection next week followed by another review on January 26 while instructing competition directors of each sport to send them a daily progress report.
K Murugan, a member of IOA’s organising committee, said they were hopeful of things falling in place before January 31. “The progress has been rapid since the last inspection and things are taking shape. The local organising committee has assured us they will hold the Games as scheduled. Even the chief minister of the state has said so,” Murugan said.
Till last week, the equipment of nearly six sports were yet to reach Kerala after several international companies went on holiday during the festive season. While most of it has arrived, Murugan admitted that some work still needs to be done. “They have told us that everything will be in place by January 25 or 26. In case the equipment does not arrive, they will borrow it from the national federations,” the IOC member added.
The 15-day event is expected to be attended by a total of 11,641 participants, including 7,744 athletes.