Thursday, 9 September 2010

Entry to stadium will open 5 hours before start of opening ceremony

Spectators at the inaugural ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Oct 3 will be allowed entry into the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium five hours before the function begins, officials said Tuesday.

(Read our Commonwealth Games opening ceremony coverage)

"The three gates for the spectators will open at 2 p.m. ahead of the opening ceremony which will begin 7 p.m.," Maj. Gen. G.G. Dwivedi, head of the Spectator Services (SS), told reporters here. The stadium has 21 gates but only these three will be used for entry.

Dwivedi said of the 65,000 seats in the stadium, 43,000 will be made available to the general public. The remaining 22,000 seats will be "for the VIPs, athletes, officials and media".

"We expect the stadium to be fully packed. The tickets for the general public have been almost fully sold out,"
He said the decision to open the entry well in advance was taken to "reduce traffic bottlenecks in the city and crowding at the stadium". The spectator services had made some calculations on the time to be taken for the 62,000 spectators to reach the stadium from various parts of the capital, he added.

Food, electronic gadgets, alcohol and matches are among those items not permitted inside the stadium. Mobile phones will be allowed.

Dwivedi said a similar schedule is planned for the closing ceremony Oct 14 evening.

A total of 700 volunteers will be deputed to regulate the spectators at the stadium. There will be wheel-chairs and convenient seating for the disabled and senior citizens.

The spectator services will have three main tasks - gate management, access control and handling the spectator plaza and seating bowl. "Smooth entry will be ensured at the gate through the turn-stiles and security check-points," he said, adding the seats will be numbered for the opening and closing ceremonies while there will be open seating for the other events.

After the entry to the stadium, the spectators will be regulated through the spectator plaza, where there will be various facilities like information booths, medical help, stalls for food and water and sales points for merchandise, Dwivedi said.

A dry run was held at the stadium during the athletic meet July 29, where 15,000 visitors were ushered in, he said.

In all, 1.7 million spectators are expected at the 18 venues during the 12-day CWG, the biggest-ever sports event to be hosted by India since the 1982 Asiad. About 2,650 volunteers and 195 paid staff will be manning the spectator services.

Most of the volunteers are students, while the core staff will be a mix of experienced professionals and youth, Dwivedi said.

Asked the response to ticket sales, in the backdrop of the delays in organisation and spread of dengue fever, he said: "Despite all these odds, the reports are of an overwhelming response".

Ticket counters will be open till the competitions begin, he added.


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