US President Donald Trump has inaugurated the world’s biggest cricket stadium in India.
Trump gave a speech at the reconstructed 110,000-capacity Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad just hours after landing in India for a brief tour hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The stadium was packed with onlookers, many of whom wore Trump and Modi masks. Security at the venue was beefed up ahead of the two leaders’ arrival.
“The First Lady and I have just travelled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal to the Indian people,” Trump said in a 30-minute address.
The Motera Stadium has been under construction since January 2017 after the old venue, with a seating capacity of 53,000, was demolished in 2015. Populous has designed the stadium, which will be home to the Gujarat Cricket Association and is being built in collaboration with India’s top contractor, Larsen & Toubro.
Motera Stadium has usurped Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which has a seating capacity of 95,000, as the world’s biggest cricket venue. Eden Gardens in Kolkata was previously India’s largest cricket ground with a capacity of 62,000.
The new venue will have 76 corporate boxes, four-team dressing rooms and associated facilities, a state-of-the-art clubhouse and an Olympic-size swimming pool. It will also be connected to Ahmedabad’s metro rail system.
Work on the stadium was complicated by the city of Ahmedabad being located in a level 3 seismic zone. Engineering giant Walter P Moore, which developed Motera’s roof system, constructed a lightweight design to reduce seismic demand and develop an economical roof system. The company proposed a tensile fabric roof system that is seismically separate from the concrete seating bowl and supported by steel “V” shaped columns. These columns resist gravity and lateral loads resulting from high winds and earthquakes.
“I have had the opportunity to be a part of the design team of many stadiums in the US, however, getting a chance to design the roof of the biggest cricket stadium in the world is like a dream come true,” said Abhijit Shah, project manager for Walter P Moore.