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Pune will be on world map for 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games: Kalmadi

Written by: Staff

Pune, Apr 2 (UNI) India Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi has said India will successfully bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Addressing his first press conference here after the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Mr Kalmadi said, ''I am very positive in my mind that India will successfully bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.'' The award of the 2010 Commonwealth Games has been a unique honour for the country after Independence, but the award of the prestigious third Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008 at Pune was all the more creditable, he said.

The cherished dream of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was fulfilled after Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit received the ceremonial Commonwealth flag at Melbourne, Mr Kalmadi said.

Pune, a forerunner in the Olympic movement and the birth place of badminton, will go all out to make the Commonwealth Youth Games a resounding success, Mr Kalmadi stressed.

Mr Kalmadi said during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, Indian artistes, during a short span of eleven minutes, had showcased Indian culture and earned accolades for India.

Pune has earned a preference over Bangalore and Hyderabad mainly because of its status as a cyber city, its industries, and its student population, Mr Kalmadi said, adding that it was therefore befitting that the Youth Games be held here.

''I have spoken to Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy who has assured maximum cooperation and support for developing infrastructure in the city,'' he added.

Mr Kalmadi said the budgetary provisions for the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games were still to be worked out.

The Maharashtra Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs is working out the budget and present the same to State Chief Minster Vilasrao Deshmukh within a week's time, he added.

When his attention was drawn to the bad conditions of various sporting venues at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi here, Mr Kalmadi admitted it was a matter of concern but added that everything will be modernised. ''We will have the most modern shooting range at the venue,'' he added.

The 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games will have competitions in six disciplines of sports -- Athletics, Badminton, Shooting, Boxing Tennis and Weight-lifting. Swimming may be added as most Commonwealth nations have asked for the same, he said, adding the IOA will study the matter before arriving at a decision.

Mr Kalmadi said about 1000 athletes from 71 countries and 400 officials will be converging at Pune for the event which will be held from October 12 to 18 in 2008.

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fenell and his team will visit Pune on June 5 to assess the facilities. Army authorities too will be extending their fullest possible co-operation for the event, he said.

Army Chief Lt Gen J J Singh, who is also vice president for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and who was in Melbourne for the closing ceremony, and GOC-in-C Southern Command Lt Gen Aditya Singh have assured their fullest co-operation, Mr Kalmadi added further.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Pune Mayor Rajani Tribhuvan have also expressed their support and co-operation, he said.

The hosting of the 2008 Commonwealth Games will put Pune on the world map, the IOA boss said.


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