The South Asian Winter Games,scheduled to be held in March this year,have been postponed to December because of delay in preparing infrastructure in Dehradun and Auli,and not because of Pakistans non-participation,a Sports Ministry official confirmed on Monday.
The South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) had decided to introduce a regional winter competition and had accepted Indias bid to stage the first Games,with skiing events to be held at Auli and ice hockey and ice-skating at Dehradun in March,2009. But the organisers have now said that it wasnt possible for them to ensure the competition venues would be ready in time for the Games.
RK Gupta,chairman of Indias Winter Games Commission,said the postponement was necessitated because of the excess snowfall this season. This impaired our preparations of the infrastructure, he told The Indian Express.
We not only wanted to have good Games but also the infrastructure to be truly world class. That was not possible with the heavy snowfall. Under the circumstances,we decided to postpone the event to December since we would be in a position to prepare the infrastructure some time in April, he added.
The Games have now been rescheduled for December 25-31. This was decided at a meeting held by the organising committee last week at Dehradun.
The biggest problem,officials said,was in installing pipes that would be used for transporting water. Once the pipes are in place,well be able to pump water through them from the lakes and then convert them with artificial snow-pumping machines. But thats not possible right now.
Earlier,there had been reports that the Games had been postponed due to Pakistans refusal to send a contingent for the event. But the sports ministry official said Pakistans participation was not an issue since there had been no discussion with the Winter Games Federation of India regarding the participation of a team from across the border in the first place.