Long wait before the green signal

First batch of Indian athletes moves in to the Games Village but only after avoidable drama

Long wait before the green signal

The Indian archery, weightlifting and table tennis teams, who have been training in Delhi for the last few days, vacated their hotel rooms and assembled in the OC office in Jai Singh Road here by afternoon. Members of the archery and weightlifting squads got temporary accommodation in the nearby YMCA building, but the TT squad was stranded on the road for nearly two hours.

“We have been told to wait here as cleaning work was going on in the Village. We might as well have moved into the Village in the evening when everything was ready there. Anyways, those things are not in our hands. We need to concentrate only on our performance,” archery team coach and former Olympian Limba Ram said.

The OC has assigned a massive army of cleaners, who have been working at other competition venues, from Wednesday night to make the Village look spic and span before the first batch of the athletes arrive. “It was a sudden move and we got the order to move in nearly 1100 cleaners from all the venues to the Games Village on Wednesday evening and make the area look tidy by Thursday afternoon,” Satinder Pal Singh, chief contractor of the A2Z Cleaning Services, said.

The three Indian squads were finally taken to the village by 5.30 pm, after a nearly five-hour wait that included a photo-opportunity. In all, 138 Indian athletes and 12 officials moved into the Games Village with the hockey men and women, lawn bowls, gymnastics and para sport team members moving in late in the evening.

“Today 138 athletes and 12 officials moved in to the Games Village and the rest of the squad will move in by tomorrow and day after. The rugby sevens squad has been practising here and they will move in tonight or tomorrow afternoon. The entire Indian contingent will be in the Village by September 25 evening,” said B Kalika, chef de mission of the Indian team.

One of the OC officials termed the entry of Indian athletes into the Games Village as a strong statement from their part. “There have been a lot of negative reports against the residential blocks in the Games Village. Here, we are sending our team first up to the Village. I assure you nothing is amiss in the Village now and whatever areas of concern the foreign delegates had pointed out have been rectified,” he said. After checking into the Village, one of the team members expressed his overall satisfaction with the facilities and cleanliness in the property.

“It looks pretty alright in our block, though none of us has gone out and checked other blocks so far. I hope they too are in good shape. The only hiccup as far as I can see is that the wi-fi system is yet to be operational and the mobile signal is a bit weak. I guess it is because of the rains here,” he told Deccan Herald.

While feeble signals could be a result of the heavy rains, there is a strict restriction on wi-fi, even in the Village, as Delhi Police, after a meeting with the Home Ministry officials, said the facility could be misused by detrimental forces during the Games. They have advised technicians to make the Village wi-fi enabled only after strict monitoring by the police officials.

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