Shillong doubtful as venue for SAF Games, Guwahati preferred
SHILLONG: The badminton event of 12th South Asian Games, which is to be held in Assam in February 2016, is likely to be staged at Guwahati instead of Shillong's North East Hill University — SAI Sports Centre, a multipurpose indoor stadium, which was found not suitable owing to poor lighting and lack of wooden flooring for the warm-up courts.
According to official sources, Badminton Association of India chief Akhilesh Gupta and Sports Authority of India director-general Injeti Srinivas are making efforts to shift the event to the DTRP indoor stadium at the R.G. Baruah Sports complex at Ulubari (Guwahati) where the kabaddi event is scheduled.
The organisers are contemplating finishing the badminton fixtures before the kabaddi event begins on February 11, 2106. The advancement of the inauguration of the SAF Games by one day came in handy for the badminton organisers as they will start the event on February 6 instead of 7.
The proposed visit by the Games competition director K.Ch. Punnaiah Chowdary and chief National badminton coach Pullela Gopi Chand to Shillong on December 24 to inspect the venue is likely to be cancelled in the eventuality of the shifting of the venue.
The multipurpose indoor stadium is primarily built to host basketball events and the lighting was found to be inadequate at the centre of the hall.
"Badminton is the most popular event not only in the north-eastern region of the country but also in South Asian nations and we expect a big crowd to watch the proceedings. We also require sufficient seating capacity," said an official source.
Delegates from Indonesia, Malaysia and India will meet at Hyderabad on Monday to the discuss the modalities of the Badminton Asia championships, the qualifying event for the Thomas and Uber finals, which will be held at the GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium at Gachibowli, Hyderabad from February 15 to 21.
The event, held once in two years, will feature all countries from Asia and four will qualify for the Thomas and Uber finals.