By S. Thyagarajan
All the loose ends — and there were not many — in the gorgeous spic and span AOTI Sports complex were sewn up as the 16th Asian Games is poised to unfold in what is viewed by the local media as an unprecedented spectacle on Friday, to set the tone and tenor for the 15-day sporting carnival of the continent.
The two hockey pitches within the gigantic sports complex became a beehive of activity on Thursday with teams having a feel of the turf and the technical teams, tournament officers, judges, umpires (men and women), drawn from various countries in the continent, checking out the facilities relating to equipment, working conditions, while the umpires managers completed the fitness tests, under the guidance and supervision of the seasoned and highly-rated FIH and AHF Tournament Director Mathavan Devadas, from Singapore.
Appreciating the professionalism by all sections of the people connected with the facilities at the two stadiums, Mr. Devadas particularly complimented the pool of volunteers for their enthusiasm, professional work and understanding.
Pakistan, Japan and Malaysia (women) had their workout during the day. The Indian team, which had a fairly long stay of acclimatisation, took it easy on Thursday.
Coach Harendra Singh said everything was under control and all were looking forward to the men's opening match on Monday against Hong Kong-China.
The Indian women's team had a session on the main pitch under the watchful eyes of chief coach Sandeep Somesh. With the women's team manager yet to reach the venue, the team management has named Khalid Modi, the assistant coach, as the manager. India plays Malaysia on Sunday.
Dr. P.S.M.Chandran, Medical Officer of the AHF, expressed satisfaction with the medical centre and the equipment available. He also had an inspection of the dope control centre. “I found them very good, and what struck was the enthusiasm of the personnel to attend any minor adjustments required, notwithstanding the language barrier.”