By Duncan Mackay
December 4 - New Delhi's renovated £37 million 20,000-seater National Stadium, the venue for next year's hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, will be finished on December 15, it has been announced.
Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the Commonwealth Games organising committee, claimed the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium will be the best hockey venue in the world.
It is a boost to Commonwealth Games organisers who have been under pressure to get facilities ready in time for the event, which opens on October 3, amid mounting fears that they will fail.
Kalmadi said: "I must echo what the International Hockey Federation President Mr Leandro Negre said.
"This will be the best hockey stadium in the world."
A four-nation tournament is due to take place at the stadium - which is nicknamed "The temple of Indian hockey" - from January 13 to 17, as a test event for the World Cup in February and March and the Commonwealth Games.
Kalmadi promised the Stadium will also have adequate floodlights to cater to the needs of the high definition broadcast during the Commonwealth Games.
He said: "Not only will the spectators in the stadium have better facilities but also those watching the telecast will enjoy the experience.
"I am also delighted by the fact that the facade of the National Stadium, centerpiece of the 1951 Asian Games and the hockey venue for the 1982 Asian Games, has been retained.
"The second pitch will be ready well in time for the World Cup."
Kalmadi claimed out that besides the two competition pitches and a warm-up pitch at the National Stadium, Delhi would have two more pitches at the Shivaji Stadium and at the Yamuna Sports Complex.
He said: "There is no doubt in my mind that the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi will leave a lasting legacy not only for hockey but for Olympic sport."
July 2009: India declared safe to host World Hockey Cup
April 2009: New Delhi given warning over hockey World Cup
March 2007: Delhi to host 2010 Hockey World Cup