Goans will be proud of the National Games: CEO Swetika Sachan | Goa News

Panaji: In the eight months that Swetika Sachanwas appointed secretary (sports) and later CEO of the National Games organising committee, she has seen Goa inch closer to delivering the multi-discipline sporting event that has been delayed for more than a decade. In this interview with TOI, the CEO explains the goals and challenges.
How challenging is it for a small state like Goa to host the biggest National Games?
Frankly, we are very lucky. It does not matter that we are a small state, but despite having just two districts, we have excellent infrastructure. This has been observed by the federations during their visits. It was beyond their expectations. The quality of the infrastructure created from 2012 (for the Lusofonia Games) has been state of the art. We do have sufficient infrastructure. Even though there are lot of sporting facilities, we had to look at where we are hosting the games from the point of view of logistics and convenience. That is why we spread the games all around (the state), so that we can cater to everyone and the distances could also be managed. We did not want athletes to travel long distances.
Goa will not have a traditional Games Village and will instead accommodate the athletes in hotels. Have enough hotels been booked?
Almost about 200 hotels have been shortlisted, 100 of them finalised. There is a process of identification. The government deputes a full committee including tourism, FDA, all concerned departments to ensure that the kitchens are proper, minimum requirements are taken care of like air-condition and wifi. Everything has to be of a good standard. We want to provide athletes with the best experience. The room requirements will variate; it can go anywhere from a thousand room nights for athletes per day up to about 3000 to 4000 on peak days which might happen due to the (disciplines) overlap.
With Games fast-approaching, some venues are still not ready, despite the state government’s deadline of September 30…
As of today, 12-14 venues are 100 % ready. With other venues, it’s 85-90 % ready. Goa had a very heavy monsoon, so some works were delayed. Some of it was intentional as we did not want to have wasteful expenditure when precious government money is involved. For example, with the last coats of paint, we want to give a good clean, aesthetic venue. When people come to the stadiums, they should be proud to be there. Goans will be proud that we are organising the Games in such a beautiful manner.
All eyes will be on Goa when Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates the National Games on October 26. What would be the focus at the opening ceremony?
I cannot say much at this stage, there has to be some surprise, some wow element. But rest assured, we will showcase a lot of Goan heritage and plan to use traditional theatre, dance forms as well. We are trying to take this a notch above from the previous ceremony (last year in Gujarat).
What about the legacy plan, once Goa is done with the National Games which would cost a lot of money?
We have to organise 43 disciplines for the National Games and Goa would take part in most of the games. Post games, we are looking into a PPP (Public-private partnerships) model. We do want to continue to hold bigger events, like the World table tennis that happened. Slowly in the future, we want to ensure that national and international sporting events keep happening here.
The success of any major tournament largely depends on the home team’s performance. What’s your expectation from Goa at the Games?
Goa were 30th (with five bronze medals) last year in Gujarat, despite that we have come a long way and have big hopes. I have been meeting the teams and they are all positive. We have taken care of all requirements of the state associations. It took us some time, but we did not want to give anything less. The kind of sporting equipment that we have procured is the best. We are hoping that Goa will win a good number of medals.

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