By our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI, Jan 29: The visitors started to land in the country to take part in the 12th South Asian Games which will jointly host by Guwahati and Shillong from February 5. Women volleyball team of Maldives checked in at a city hotel this morning while kho Kho team of Nepal reached Siliguri and already started their fil phase of preparation at Siliguri Indoor stadium today. The side will arrive in Guwahati shortly.
The 16 members volleyball team of Maldives have 14 players and two officials. The team was received by the officials of the Accommodation Functiol Area of 12th South Asin Games before they were taken to a city hotel at Paltan Bazar.
This time 2480 athletes, 1375 male and 1105 female, will take part in the forthcoming Games. Disclosing the news to the media in a press conference Injeti Srinivas, the CEO (OC-SAG, Guwahati) said that Nepal and Maldives will be the two countries where the number of female participants will be more than the males. Bhutan will have smallest contingent with 85 athletes while India, as expected, will put biggest contingent with 521 athletes. Among the eight participating countries India, Nepal and Sri Lanka will take part in all 23 disciplines of the Games. All the participating teams are expected to reach the city by February 3-two days before the iugural function.
Srinivas however refused to give any clue on the arrival date of Pakistan team. When raised this point he said,“ Right now I can only say that you will get the news soon. However I can share one information with you and it is that non-validated passes will be allotted to athletes along with their accreditation cards which will serve as visas.”
A top government source however said that Pakistan would likely to take chartered flights directly to reach Guwahati. The first batch of Pakistan contingent is expected to arrive Guwahati on February 2.
Meanwhile there is big doubt whether Nehru Stadium, the venue of the football (men) event, will be ready before the start of the Games. Although only seven days are left but still a lot of works is left which created doubt on the availibility of the venue for the Games. Srinivas today admitted that the progress of work is not upto the mark but CEO said, they had already made altertive arrangement. “ We are still hoping that Nehru Stadium will be ready before the Games. But if it is not happened we will shift the event to SAI field which is already prepared as altertive venue of men’s soccer,” said Srinivas.
As per the schedule, Nehru Stadium will host six group league matches before the tourment will be shifted to Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium for semi fils, third place match and the fil.