Evaluation Commission satisfied, India inches closer to 2014 Asiad

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New Delhi, Nov 11 (UNI) The capital cleared the crucial first hurdle by convincing a visiting Evaluation Commission of its capability to host the 2014 Asian Games and now the Delhi-Incheon battle to host the extravaganza will be decided in an Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) voting in Kuwait in April.

The Evaluation Commission leaves the capital tonight concluding its two-day visit of the city, during which they met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Diskhit, Lt Governor BL Joshi, Union Youth affairs and Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar and all other stakeholders for the 2014 Games.

Talking to mediapersons here today, members of the OCA Evaluation Commission admitted the capital has a strong case even though the Korean city of Incheon remained a formidable contender.

''We are overwhelmed by the representations and Delhi's preparation for the event. The central government, the local government, the private sector and the media --- everyone seems united in the dream to bring back the Games here.

''We are overwhelmed with everything and we strongly believe in Delhi's capability to host an event of this magnitude. Now the question remains whether we can convince the National Olympic Committees (NOC),'' Chairman of the Evaluation Committee Celso Dayrit said.

Later, he told UNI that the commission leaves tonight for Incheon and a final decision would be taken in the OCA General Assembly meeting in Kuwait in April next year.

Asked whether the issue would be clinched by the commission's report or it would boil down to the number game only during the vote, Mr Dayrit said, ''I think it will be both. All 45 NOCs would get our report and then vote for the right candidate.'' He also admitted that Delhi, which hosted the Games in 1982, has a strong case this time because the Korean city of Busan hosted the game as early as in 2002.

''Of course that is one of the arguments which we have to consider,'' he said.

The evaluation commission members seemed to have enjoyed their stay in the capital and Natalya Sipovich, only woman member, admitted the hospitality was awesome.

Fellow member Abdul Ghani Tabbalat said he had no doubt that Delhi would be the right venue.

''After two days of fruitful meetings and presentations, observing the excellent co-operation among the stakeholders and the immense interest for the event, I'm convinced that Delhi can make it a successful event,'' he said.

Fellow member Vinod Towari echoed the view and said, ''We had arrived here with a few questions in our mind about some grey areas and I think we are returning with the right answers.'' His colleague in the commission Haider Ferman recalled his participation in the 1982 Asian Games here and said he never doubted Delhi's potential.

''We will submit a fair report and my best wishes are with Delhi,'' he said.

Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi pointed out that with the capital hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the necessary infrastructure -- both city and sports facilities -- would come up well before that.

''Korea hosted the event very recently and while Incheon's case is a city's bid, in case of Delhi, it's a national bid. We have submitted written answers to all the queries, Prime Minister and the state government have assured all kind of support and that should earn us the Games,' he added.


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