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2010 WC: Global News
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Tit bits (3/14/2010)
--Moulin Parikh
Tit bits from the finals

Huge crowd

As expected the finals between Australia and Germany was an eagerly anticipated contest. There were huge queues outside the stadium with divided support for both teams. Inside the stands the cheerful crowd painted a colorful picture. It was a delight to see Indian women’s hockey team seating in the stands and trying to absorb as much as they can by watching the two champion teams. It is a good move by the authorities considering the step motherly treatment meted out to the women’s team in the past despite them performing much better than their male counterpart.

Argentina roots for Australia

Few players of the Argentina team too made it a point to watch the finals. The boys from Latin America had turned up to support Australia. The reason for that is not too difficult to understand. Argentina had lot 3-2 to Germany in their Group A match and it severely affected their chances of finishing in top three. Once Australia took lead courtesy Luke Doerner's drag flick off a penalty corner, the Argentineans celebrated in their own quiet way.

Fans can’t get enough of National Stadium

It was heartening to see Delhi crowd giving a standing ovation to both the champions, Australia and Germany, who fought equally well. It is imperative that top class display of hockey is appreciated and the crowd too deserves to be congratulated, for they played their role to perfection. It was largely perceived that Indian fans only showed up for home team’s matches, but that notion was changed on Saturday with the large turnout. Both teams were egged on and it showed in their performance. The fans waited patiently even after the closing ceremony and only left the stadium once the Delhi cops took charge of the matter. Surely, the National Stadium is one venue; you want to keep visiting time and again.

Titbits from past days

Overseas fans miffed at poor hospitality

When Major Dhayn Chand stadium became the first venue of the Commonwealth games to be unveiled; the sporting world received a masterpiece. There is absolutely no doubt that India now has one of the best hockey stadiums in the world with top class facilities. The fans filled the stadium on the opening day as the World Cup kicked off signaling a positive sign. However, just three days into the event, and the shoddy work by the organizers coupled with heightened security measures, are ruining the pleasure of die hard fans who have traveled miles to be in Delhi.

Musical chairs

Procuring tickets still remain a mystery and the online facility is proving to be a big headache for the spectators. Moreover, the VIP ticket holders, who shelled out 1000 rupees for the ‘Heritage seats’ got a rude shock when they were asked to get up from the designated ‘VIP boxes’ to accommodate VVIPs and due to ‘security reasons,’ on the advice of the Delhi Police. The VIP ticket holders have been shifted to the opposite end and, now, allotted seats in the same bay, meant for tickets priced for Rs.500. Most of the fans who have bought tickets amounting to 1000 rs are overseas fans and are clearly miffed with the organizers. “We have come all the way from England to watch the World Cup and bought premium tickets for better facilities. We were asked to vacate the area meant for tickets worth 1000 despite having valid tickets,” says Jazzman, a member of the Indian Gymkhana group flashing his ticket. The Indian Gymkhana is bunch of 30 enthusiasts, who travel world over to catch major sporting actions. The group boasts of a local team in England and has been represented by the likes Dhanraj Pillay, Jude Felix in the past. A closer look at the ticket reveals that Gate number two, the entry gate was changed to three using a pen. “We have no extra facility and paying extra for no particular reason. This is highly unfair,” fumes another member. “We have traveled for six Olympic Games, the previous World Cup in Germany, the cricket World Cups but never seen such a shoddy management.” When this reporter tried contacting the ticket supervisor of Gate 2, he covered his card and refused to explain about the lack of facilities, clearly setting a poor example in front of his junior volunteers who had gathered.

Dusty seats

Often small issues, if handled well can enhance one’s experience of watching hockey and make it a joyous event. The bucket seats provide a relaxed viewing experience and not many Indian grounds have this facility. The National stadium has comfortable seats but absolutely no cleaning, has angered fans. With construction work in full swing in many parts of Delhi, most seats are covered with layers of dust. “They have thousand volunteers but no one cleans it. We have to find our own ways to clean seats and that too after paying high amounts; this is least you can expect from the organizers,” say fans jointly. The stench inside the washroom can make you sick and the organizers, who were on inspection, cleverly avoided the area.

Lose money as you enter, return early to leave richer

The security measures that are in place are an exercise in patience. No Indian sporting event till now has barred spectators from carrying money. Yes you’ve read it correctly; carrying coins inside the stadium is not allowed. Right at the screening counter, a small box is kept where each one has to literally empty his pockets. There is no record of the amount of coins deposited and you are free to pick as many as you like when you leave, albeit if available. “This is completely ridiculous, one cannot give an explanation for such a stupid decision, says Shirish Gupta who incidentally happens to work in a bank. “I had three new coins and had to ‘gift’ them. I was told to collect it while returning, but not a single coin was to be seen,’ he explains and demands to know, who takes it. The cops on duty only smile when asked for this ‘out of the box’ measure and reply wittingly. “You can keep it, if it is your lucky coin.”

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