Chinese hand in Viv Richards stadium Gaurav Kalra

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Chinese hand in Viv Richards stadium

Gaurav Kalra | June 2, 2006, 8:00 PM IST

St Johns (Antigua): The first Test match at the St Johns Recreation ground between India and the West Indies will be the last one to be played at the ground.

From the World Cup onwards, Antigua will have a spanking new stadium named after its greatest hero - Sir Vivian Richards.

It may look like any other construction sight at the moment but when its ready, this will be an eye-catching cricketing sight. The Sir Viv Richards stadium will have a capacity of 10,000 but for the world cup 20,000 people will get into these stands.

Work started in November last year and was expected to be completed by this November, but it is running two weeks behind schedule. But the organisers say it will be worth the wait.


"We are trying to imitate the legacy that the Antigua Recreation Ground has left in the city of St John’s and we’re definitely trying to bring that intimacy, that party atmosphere here," says Sheon Samuel, the Venue Development Coordinator for the stadium.

The stadium has one other unique feature. It is being built with the assistance of the Chinese Government.

300 Chinese labourers are working at the site and of the USD 50 million expected to be spent on the construction, the Chinese Government is spending 20 million.

The stadium will be a statement to the world and to the people Antigua of just how much the world cup means to the island.

"This is the first time that Antigua and Barbuda and the region as a whole will host an international sporting event of this kind. So the main challenge is getting the country prepared. We’ve continued to make steady strides and we are confident that we will be ready to host the world in 2007," says Lucia Mings, Programme Coordinator, National Hosting of the World Cup.

It is a tribute by the people of Antigua and Barbuda to their favourite son, Sir Viv Richards. Six matches in the various stages of the World Cup next year will be played here.

Whether India top their group or finish second, they are certain to play here. So when one switches on their TVs during the World Cup, just look out for the Sir Viv Richards stadium, packed with world-class facilities.

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