New Delhi: Sports Minister M S Gill on Sunday inaugurated the refurbished R K Khanna Stadium with the hope that the Indian tennis players would shine here and rake in the medals when the capital hosts the Commonwealth Games in October.
“It will be an excellent venue for not only the coming Commonwealth Games but also for many more tournaments in future. I have no doubt that this stadium will measure up for the international standard,” Gill said after having a round of the sprawling venue.
“Government has spent Rs 5-6 crore on the preparation and has sent 200 players abroad for exposure. I expect that the results will be seen during the Games,” he said.
“I am happy that youngsters like Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri are coming up. While Somdev is the current and future hope for Indian tennis, Yuki is also doing quite well besides seniors like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi,” Gill said.
Gill assured that the government would also help the Indian sportspersons in their preparation for the Asian Games in China later this year and the 2012 London Olympics.
“Rs 800 crore has been spent in two-and-a-half years - something that has not happened in the last 60 years. We are sending the sportspersons to abroad for better training and exposure,” he said.
“Now this will continue and I would like to say that the same level of preparation will be done for the Asian Games. We may have even better preparation for the 2012 London Games,” Gill said.
The Sports Minister inaugurated the state-of-the-art stadium that has a built-up area of 11,500 square kilometer and consists of 14 courts including a centre court and six match courts.
The centre court has spectator capacity of 5,200 while the number one court has a 1000-seater gallery with updated facilities for ball kids, technical officials, athletes and broadcasters.
A tennis playing facility since 1970, the sports complex had hosted the 1982 Asian Games among other events and now it has been given new look for the quadrennial multi-discipline event.
Impressed with the facilities, former Davis Cupper Akhtar Ali said, “All Indians should be proud to have such a beautiful tennis facility in the country. Now the players should give their 125 per cent to win golds in the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
AITA Secretary General Anil Khanna was also present on the occasion.