After several missed deadlines, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue for the Commonwealth Games, was finally inaugurated by Sports Minister M S Gill and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday.
The remodelled 60,000 capacity stadium, built at a cost of Rs 960 crore, got delayed umpteen times because of the construction of an underground tunnel for the opening ceremony of the October 3-14 event.
The stadium will host the Games' opening and closing ceremonies and athletics, weightlifting and Lawn tennis events.
Also present on the occasion were Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Sports Authority of India Director General Sayan Chatterjee and several sportspersons and senior officials of the sports Ministry.
"This is an auspicious day for us. Even the monsoon is obliging us. All the stadiums now stand completed except the weightlifting one which will be inaugurated in 2-3 days time. By August 1, we will hand over all the stadiums to the Organising Committee," Gill said.
"It's the first time in India that such a complex has been built. It's a job well done under pressure. The roof's design is very complex and designers made no mistakes in coming out with a flawless design. I want to say to everyone that we are ready for the Games," Gill said.
Kalmadi said through the Commonwealth Games, the whole world will see the potential India has got in terms of infrastructure.
"I again want to repeat that all the stadiums are world class. JLN stadium is an engineering marvel and nobody can deny that. Commonwealth Coordination Commission which held his meeting here two months ago had said that we won't be coming to India again as everything in place and we are a satisfied lot," Kalmadi said.
"We overcame each and every situation that came our way during the construction of this infrastructure and I assure you that we will conduct the best Games ever," Kalmadi added.
Constructed during the 1982 Asian Games, the remodeling of the stadium started in January 2008. The venue spans over an area of 4,04,686 sqm and the oval shaped building has fabrication and erection of high strength steel work as per international standard.
The 150m tunnel, which connected the two ends of the stadium, is for the performers to enter into the ground during the opening and closing ceremonies.
"I like to congratulate all those who were associated with the making of the stadium, you deserve a huge round of applause. World-class work has been done and we have a piece of art to cherish for all our life," Dikshit said.
"Sports Minister worked as a locomotive to get the stadium done at the scheduled time. By August 31, we will have everything in place and in September, we will be giving finishing touch to our preparations. Every stadium is ready for anyone to visit," Dikshit added also praising the efforts of Kalmadi.
The entire building is earthquake resistant and has two tier seating capacity for 60,000 spectator. The three independent structures of the main stadium building, are the lower tier, main building and supporting structure for PTFE membrane roof.
The Field of Play is divided into competition, training and warm-up area. The competition area is a 400x9 lane synthetic warm-up track with a lane of Class-I certification.
The training area boasts of a synthetic track with nine sprint lanes.