Vijender laments absence of air-conditioned practice facility

New Delhi: Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh on Wednesday lamented the absence of air-conditioned practice facilities which, he feels, could have helped Indian pugilists prepare in a better way for the October 3-14 Commonwealth Games to be held.

"Currently there is no air-conditioned boxing hall in India where we can practice. Given the kind of hot weather this part of India experience, it is important to have a facility where the boxers can practice comfortably," Vijender said during a panel discussion.

"For example, the temperature soar as high as 45-46 degree celsius in north India during this part of the year, so such a state-of-the-art facility will surely help us prepare better and perform well in different competitions," he added.

However, Vijender, who is currently the world`s numero uno boxer in middle weight (75kg) category, said his preparation for the Delhi Games is well on track and he is confident of a good showing in the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.

"My preparation is going on well and I am quite excited to get the chance of performing in such a big event in front of my home crowd. I am looking forward to put up my best effort in the Games," he said.

The flamboyant boxer also admitted that the new infrastructure coming up for the Delhi Games will immensely help the next generation of athletes.

"We have played at the Talkatora Stadium during the CWG test event. This is a fine venue for any international competition and I think, the coming generation will certainly get advantage of the facilities coming up for the event," Vijender said.

Meanwhile, CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said that they are taking heart from South Africa`s successful organisation of the ongoing FIFA World Cup to stage the "best ever" Commonwealth Games.

"Initially the FIFA had said that a developing country like South Africa would not be able to organise such a big event involving so many teams, but the country has proved them wrong," he said.

"In our case also, there were plenty of speculations that we can`t organize the Games which would be shifted to Melbourne. But we have maintained the pace of preparation and now everyone, including the Commonwealth Games Federation is happy with our initiative," said Kalmadi, who participated in the discussion `I Love Delhi - My Delhi. My Games`.

Kalmadi, also the president of the Indian Olympic Association, expressed happiness over the huge demand of tickets for the mega-event.

"The ticket sale for the Commonwealth Games is going on in good pace. There are great demand specially for the opening and closing ceremonies which will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. There are high demands specially for events like swimming, hockey and athletics," he said.

"Not only will the athletes and the sports in general, but also different industries get benefit from the Games. It will certainly give a boost to the tourism sector and create a number of employments.

"Most importantly, a successful Commonwealth Games will push our case for the Olympics in the coming years," he added.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and actor Chitrangada Singh also participated in the discussion.


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