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Sports unite the people of India like no other medium. Here's a look at some of the iconic stadiums that make it possible!
It was the 1993 Hero Cup semi-final. India was playing South Africa at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. India had just posted 193 runs on the board. South Africa were at 106 for 3 and it looked like an easy ride to victory. But, sports can be unpredictable. The Proteas lost four wickets rapidly and it came down to six runs with two wickets to spare. Captain Azharuddin handed the ball to Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster conceded just three runs in an over and gave India a nail-biting two-run win. The crowd exploded with joy.
Stadiums are not only venues for spectators. They help nurture talent and bring about a collective sense of pride. Can you imagine Manchester United without Old Trafford? Or Kolkata Knightriders without Eden Gardens? The Emirates Stadium in London is as much as a landmark as the Big Ben.
Let's take a look at some stadiums that define sport in India:
# 1 Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Eden Gardens is one of the most famous stadiums in India. It is the largest one in India and the second-largest in the world. Built in 1864, the iconic stadium is called "cricket's answer to the Colosseum". It has a capacity of 68,000, making it the largest cricket stadium in India by capacity. The stadium is known for its passionate spectators. Who can forget Rohit Sharma's 264 off 173 balls during the Sri Lanka vs India One Day International match in 2014?
# 2 Thyagaraj Sport Complex, New Delhi
The Thyagaraj Sport Complex in New Delhi is one of India's most spectacular stadiums. It was built as a venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which was hosted by Delhi. The sports complex is spread over 16.5 acres and can seat 5,883 spectators. The stadium has an R.C.C. structure with steel roofing, and maple wood flooring in the central arena. The water management system is state of the art and can treat sewage to the tune of 2 lakh litres daily. It was designed by architects PTM of Australia and Kapoor & Associates of Delhi.
# 3 Keenan Stadium, Jamshedpur
The Keenan stadium in Jamshedpur was built in 1939 and is named after John Lawrence Keenan, a former general manager of the Tata Steel . It has a capacity to seat 19,000 people. It also houses several sports training units for the city. The former captain of the Indian cricket team, M.S. Dhoni has played numerous matches for Jharkhand at this stadium.
# 4 Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
It's no secret that Kolkata is crazy about football. The Salt Lake Stadium can hold 85,000 people and is the second-largest football stadium in the world. This is the same stadium which hosted the historic friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela where Lionel Messi's presence drove the crowd wild. In 2015, a â‚¹1 billion renovation project was launched where the stadium got a modern facelift.
# 5 Indira Gandhi Arena, New Delhi
The Indira Gandhi Arena is the largest indoor sports arena in India and the third-largest in Asia. It was built by the Government of India 1982 for the purpose of hosting the indoor games events in the 1982 Asian Games. It can accommodate 14,348 people. A few years ago, it got an air-conditioned velodrome (arena for track cycling) constructed at the cost of 150 crore rupees. The arena also hosted the International Premier Tennis League in 2014.
# 6 JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur
JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur is 30 acres of pure sports. It was built in 1991 and has an 8-lane synthetic track, international-size swimming pool, boxing centre, skating area, basketball court, archery ground, handball ground, lawn tennis court, volleyball court, table tennis hall, chess centre and adventure sports. It can accommodate 24,000 spectators for football matches. It is also the headquarters for Tata Chess Centre, Tata Archery Academy, and Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF). The sports complex hosted the SÃ£o Paulo Football Club from Brazil and Mohammedan Sporting Club in 2006, and currently acts as the home stadium for Jamshedpur FC as well.
All of these stadiums have the Tata mark on them. A great patron of sports, Tata Steel's products are present in each of these stadiums. Be it the roofs, beams, stands or structures, Tata's steel has left an enduring mark.
Sport has been an integral part of Tata Steel's corporate philosophy. The Indian multinational steel-making company regularly organises summer camps to promote sports at the grass-root level. "Sports is gradually becoming a way of life in India, beyond cricket as well, which in turn increases demands for better sporting infrastructure. And as makers of tomorrow, Tata Structura is enabling development and modernisation of sports infrastructure in the country," says Hariharaputhiran Harikumar, Head of Marketing, Brand & Retail (Tubes), Tata Steel.
Did you know India's first Olympic Team was financed by Sir Dorabji Tata way back in 1919? He financed four athletes and two wrestlers for the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium Olympics. Tata Steel has supplied over 7,000 MT of Tata Structura hollow steel sections in stadiums, sports complexes, shooting ranges, natatoriums, velodromes, sports cities and games villages in New Delhi, Noida, Lucknow, Ludhiana and Kolkata, including facilities for the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi.
India wants to host the 2032 Olympic Games and the 2030 Games. IOA president Narendra Dhruv Batra says he sees potential in the country to hold these world-class events. Here's hoping it materialises!
- In collaboration with Firstpost
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