this is where badminton player saina nehwal won a gold medal in the commonwealth games in october 2010. then hundreds of people had thronged here and pushed and shoved to enter the stadium, yelling and kicking, holding their tickets high and waving for the staff to notice and let them in.
now it's a ghost town.
because the authorities think it's a bad idea to let the 'masses' use the world-class facility. the entire place has been nailed shut.
the siri fort stadium located within the older siri fort sports complex is maintained by the delhi development authority (dda). the stadium was completed just in time before foreign athletes flew down to delhi for the games. it was the venue for badminton and squash battles.
a young systems engineer with six-month experience was the only person present inside the building. "i take care of security installation and circuits. i don't have much to do all day and i get bored alone," he said. "will you eat with me today?"
lakhs of rupees are spent on electricity and maintenance every day. one of the security guards, who did not want to appear here, said he has a kid in school who plays badminton. he is puzzled why the dda doesn't allow people to use the facility. the government keeps advertising about how this country's sports talent needs world-class nurturing. but that turns out a lie. the dda wants to maintain quality between events as letting people in and out freely may damage the insides.
another group is protesting against the stadium's closure, and they are angrily using this place for target practise.
there they are.
(with inputs from anamika nandedkar, senior staff writer, hindustan times)