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Delhi learning downside of hosting Games

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David Bond | 17:47 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010

With the worldwide television exposure they offer, countries recognise the power of major sports events to promote themselves and boost their image.

And it is no coincidence that those emerging economies most commonly referred to as the Brics - Brazil, Russia, India and China - are the nations most alive to the potential of the biggest international events.

Since the International Olympic Committee took the calculated risk of taking the 2008 Games to China we have seen a run of big events going to Bric countries.

Brazil is to host the 2014 World Cup while Rio de Janeiro is staging the 2016 Olympics.

And in addition to bidding for the 2018 World Cup, Russia is putting on the 2014 Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi.

Hosting the Commonwealth Games was supposed to be India's chance to show the world that it had left behind the old stereotypes of an economy blighted by corruption and political interference.

Sadly for them their preparations for the Delhi Games have shown that staging these events do have a potentially damaging downside.

Rather than beaming images of gleaming stadiums and happy athletes producing world class sport the last 24 hours have reminded India that the 24 hour modern media culture has a nasty downside. Get it right and the world sits back and applauds. Get it wrong and your failings are transmitted to the globe's rolling news networks.

Delhi may yet surprise us. No major event enjoys a smooth build-up with no problems. Witness all the scare stories about South Africa in the run up to the World Cup this summer. There were issues but largely the event passed off without any major difficulties.

But this does feel different. The most recent comparison has to be Athens. But unlike Delhi the main stadiums and venues were already built in Greece in 2004. The Indians have spent £1.5bn developing eight new arenas for the Commonwealth Games.

Having missed so many construction deadlines the concern now is over the safety of the new venues - especially after the collapse of a pedestrian bridge near the main stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday's less serious problems with the ceiling inside the weightlifting arena.

Work outside the main Commonwealth Games stadium in Delhi

By finishing the venues so late there are fears over the credibility of the safety certificates issued to the organisers.

Delhi 2010 was supposed to be a springboard for a 2020 Olympic bid. That can be almost certainly be consigned to the rubbish bin even if organisers manage to turn things around in the next 10 days.

So will the Commonwealth Games go ahead?

At the moment, they probably will although the withdrawal of star names like Phillips Idowu and Christine Ohuruogu has raised longer term questions not only over India as a sporting venue but also over the Commonwealth Games as an event. This is a concern with so much public money in Scotland going into the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

The only thing that will change that is if there is a major security or health scare or if the bigger teams start pulling out en masse.

On Wednesday, following a meeting of eight of the bigger English-speaking nations at the swamped athletes village, a letter was sent to the Delhi organising committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation making it clear that they could pull out unless they receive reassurances over the competitors' accommodation and the main stadiums.

This is one last attempt by the major countries to apply as much pressure as possible to the organisers to get their act together in the remaining few days.

But they also know that diplomatically it would be a disaster if any of the British nations or Australia, New Zealand or Canada withdrew their teams.

For Britain it could create real difficulties. In July the Prime Minister David Cameron headed a trade mission to India including some of the leaders of the country's most powerful companies. With London hosting the 2012 Olympics and Glasgow staging the 2014 Commonwealth Games, ministers will be conscious of the potential for tit for tat boycotts.

Officials insist such considerations will come second to the primary concern - the safety and welfare of athletes. And Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg appeared to subtly shift the responsibility for the decision on whether to travel from the government to the athletes in New York on Wednesday. On Tuesday the Sports and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson had encouraged athletes not to withdraw.

Watching events unfold from the upper floors of Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, Lord Coe and London's Olympic organisers must have been relieved that they have made such good progress in their preparations fo the 2012 Games.

But India's experience shows the high price a country can pay if it gets it wrong.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Mr Bond,
    Please check your entry before you post it. BRICS - S stands for South Africa. Another error;India would not withdraw from the Games it is hosting.
    One can understand if the withdrawal is due to security concerns. What would be interesting to find out is how many of the athletes due to travel India have been to India on a holiday. Even more interesting would be to find out how many have actually travelled a second time!!


    Thanks

  • Comment number 2.

    "But they also know that diplomatically it would be a disaster if any of the British nations or Australia, New Zealand or India withdrew their teams."

    If they can't convince the Indian team to compete, no-one will show up!

  • Comment number 3.

    Who would have thought that SA was ahead of India organisationally? In general, this shows that 3rd world countries have their work cut out!

  • Comment number 4.

    While its pretty clear that the organizing committee of CWG in India was clearly not doing their job, blame should also go to the CWG federation who were not doing anything until the last minute. I wonder what these so called people who run the day to day activities of CWG Federation were doing once there was time.I even remember the CWG CEO visit to India and claiming the preparations are going well. Now each and everyone is laying the blame on one another
    Once this over( if it actually happens ) its the India government's responsibility to conduct an inquiry and bring to light all those who filled their pockets and brought shame upon the country in this gross waste of tax payer's money.

  • Comment number 5.

    Having worked at a company owned by Indians, one cultural problem that may have led to this state of affairs is that employees are not able to give their superiors bad news, it always has to be positive and on target or else they lose their job (or more!). Hence the people in charge do not get to hear the real state of affairs, only what people want them to hear.

  • Comment number 6.

    India HAVE to get this right and the 'Commonwealth Countries' needs to showing willing in attending. The repercussions of “tactical injuries” or looking for reasons not to attend will be long and far reaching. Was it only 3 months ago that a delegation lead by the Prime minister and most of the leading lights in the cabinet (not to mention many business leaders) were in India looking how to get their share of the mighty Rupee?

    The implications for the Commonwealth Games themselves could be fatal if some of our great athletes decide to continue to ‘pick and mix’ and downgrade these games; for example, how many of our athletes that have a realistic chance of gold in 2012 started their big games experience by competing in previous Commonwealth tournaments?

    A mass exodus of athletes from Delhi 2010 will leave long and lasting memories with India and its business leaders. If for example an Indian Business Leader is looking to expand his software enterprise into Europe, no doubt he (or she) will have second thoughts of coming to England no doubt giving the excuse of potential security risks.

    The India Government also need to understand that if you put your head above the parapets you had better make sure you do not take short cuts and get things like infrastructure planning and construction right. Too many people (mainly the poor and the disposed) in Delhi have had to pay by loosing what little possessions they had for these new stadiums. As a member of BRIC cartel India has a duty not take short cuts in its planning and building process and to take ALL the people of India along the journey. Maybe the question India should ask is what would Mahatma Ghandi say?

    Finally, the Commonwealth Games must go on; they must be successful; the athletes must embrace the experience of India; and the authorities in India must give its visitors the facilities such a prestigious event deserves.

  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

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  • Comment number 9.

    It seems strange that neither Bond (nor any other writer/commentator) has bothered to compare Delhi's previous hosting of international sports--specifically 1982 Asiad--especially when BBC correspondent Mark Tully had written extensively on that subject.

    It is highly likely that, like that Asiad, these games will be held.

  • Comment number 10.

    #5, that is not specific to Indians--I have seen more than one Caucasian Canadian/American CEO with the same problems. The best example of it is Enron!

  • Comment number 11.

    The UK/Australia response (and it is largely theirs - just check the press in other Commonwealth countries, India itself excluded) cracks me up. Western countries love to find excuses why the "Third World" (particularly ex Colonies) just can't cope without their poor Anglo masters to tell them what to do, yet we wine now they are beginning to lift themselves out of poverty despite our best obstacles. See the world (particularly American) outcry before the Beijing Olympics, our own fear-mongering before the South African World Cup and the still to come Indian CwG and Brazilian World Cup (mainly the Spanish and Portuguese, amusingly).

    I can't help but think that like China and South Africa, we'll be eating humble pie in a few weeks. That is, if the Australian and British teams don't go crying home and decide to rob a country of £1.5bn.

  • Comment number 12.

    If this was supposed to be a trial run before an Olympic bid, India may have to wait a while. The reputation of the country has certainly been dented. London should not be resting on its laurels.

    Personally I still think that the highest price is paid once the games is over. Just ask the South Africans with empty or under utilised stadiums.

  • Comment number 13.

    You've hit the nail squarely on the head by highlighting that Commonwealth countries that don't attend are afraid of a backlash. That might scupper their own chances of being awarded a jolly, and we couldn't risk that, could we?

    Like the Olympics, these games may once have served a good purpose, but now it just seems an unpleasant mix of bad business and bad politics.

    At least football stadia have a chance of seeing enough use later on that might justify the outlay. The football world cup can also legitimately claim to represent the pinnacle of the International game.
    I already knew what to watch if I wanted to see the best football competitions in the world (and it's not the Olympics), so why have football in the Olympics? Answer: Because they want a slice of the money in the "football-cake", and it's quite a big cake.

    Consider this:
    If someone proposed that the next Football World Cup should be amalgamated with the Rugby World Cup, then many might say "Why? What's the need? That's a stupid idea. We will need more infrastructure, and there might not be enough accomodation for players and spectators, and things will be more expensive."

    Now lets add in a dozen more unconnected sports and the problems will be much worse. Yet that is exactly what these type of games represent. It's a case of the-tail-wagging-the-dog.

    If there is a demand for international swimming competitions, then have them. If there is a demand for international running competitions, then have them too.
    But don't have them at the same time in the same place and don't pretend that all the swimming spectators are equally interested in running, or cycling or whatever.

    And please don't give me all that "nation-speaking-peace-unto-nation" drivel. I find it quite insulting to think that the citizens of the world have to pay for these games in order to be shown how nice it would be if we had less wars with each other. That is something I was taught soon after I learned to speak.

  • Comment number 14.

    What's the point of these competitions? The Olympics is a big enough boondoggle. Why have more?

  • Comment number 15.

    Frogstar has made some interesting points, but the whole idea of the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are to celebrate the human spirit. It's a shame that political, commercial and financial pressures of the modern world now spoil what should be events for us all to celebrate.
    The biggest concern for the Commonwealth Games is that it's "old hat" - limited to certain countries and to reunite them from the enforced bond of an Empire now long gone.
    Irrespective of the location, Delhi or Glasgow, the top athletes will have reservations about competing when there are much bigger prizes at stake.
    Maybe the Commonwealth Games should review itself and perhaps re-invent itself as the "World Games" and become a festival to celebrate diversity and togetherness, a welcome break from the intensity of World Championships and Olympics, where everyone can share and enjoy many different sports.

  • Comment number 16.

    Lets hope now that Delhi fixes everything within the next few days to make the Commonwealth Games start on time!

    The whole world expected India to be a success for the Commonwealth Games and India still got time to make that correct!

  • Comment number 17.

    " The South Africans with empty or under-utlized stadiums"

    Ah. Here we go again.

    1. Tri-Nations Soccer City, sold out
    2. Charity Cup Soccer City, sold out
    3. PSL Derby Soccer City, 76,000
    4. Ghana vs. South Africa 50,000
    5. PSL Opening, Cape Town 45,000
    6. USA vs South Africa, Cape Town, November...likely sold out
    7. MTN 8 Final, Moses Mabhida...
    8. Rugby in Nelspruit
    .....

    Yes, there are lots of issues, and many venues have lots of questions to face, but the rugby venue have returned to normal use, Rustenburg still hosts football and rugby, even Nelspruit has hosted rugby matches.

    Soccer City has been clocking major crowds...attendance post WC at Soccer City alone is close to 400,000

  • Comment number 18.

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  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.


    When Bhopal disaster happened, no one was brought to book. CWG disaster happened, no will be held accountable, India has so many failing lame duck institutions; India has become a laughing stock of the World. To make bravado statements about ‘India an economic power house’ is easy, but to actually deliver international standard venues is beyond India’s means. India has failed to deliver.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    "But they also know that diplomatically it would be a disaster if any of the British nations or Australia, New Zealand or India withdrew their teams."

    Are you seriously suggesting the Indians will boycott their own games?
    Genius! You should have your own roadshow!

  • Comment number 23.

    I love India; I spent nearly two years there 1972-75, returned in 1980, 1987 and 2009-10, so know the country quite well. I couldn't believe that India could successfully stage a major international athletics event, and I'm surprised that anyone thought they could. The present chaos will surprise no-one who knows the country.

    (I attempted a post hours ago, post #1 popped up again where mine should have appeared. Perhaps Indian chaos has penetrated this blog ...)

    Namaste!

  • Comment number 24.

    Again, I am really surprised the BBC sports editor has such a myopic view of the world.

    These events have always been the 'look at me' opportunity for developing countries. Postwar Japan - Tokyo 1964, Seoul 1988, why start with Beijing 2008? It is a rite of passage for a country that wants to be seen as developed. Or is this completely new to you because there's now a neat acronym to explain it?

    As a rite of passage, we act like the gate keepers gleefully waiting to give our thumbed verdict. I'm getting a bit bored with this. That Telegraph article was really a non-story. Let's just see what India put on now. They only have themselves to blame for playing the game.

    Frogstar has his logic upside down. It is precisely because small sports can't garner large audiences it makes sense to club together for an event larger than the sum of its parts. Football and baseball don't need this, they shouldn't be included. Yes, nation should speak peace unto nation but whilst we have nations, politics and economics speak louder.

    If it is a disaster I think it could be the nail in the coffin for the Commonwealth Games. Maybe it's only fitting India bang it in.

  • Comment number 25.

    Third World/Developing/NonWestern...whatever you want to call them..countries will always in the future have a increasingly large share of "International Events " simply because their representatives make up a large and increasing proportion of the people on the decision making bodies that decide these things
    Of course if eligibility for hosting such events was based on ,say , availability of clean water or functioning sewerage system , not to mention sporting record or economic strength, it would be considered racist

  • Comment number 26.

    Welcome to India, this should be the words now the media and the officials of the organizing committee and the ministers of India should say... But now they are saying we will finish the infrastructure within a week. This shows the Very late preparedness of games. The people in India are ready to be a part of games and ready to do all the works for the success of the games. But the officials who are in charge are not interested for the games. I am from Chennai. Here In Chennai, there is a not a single poster ,a notice board , any message, ad for this big event. The people in Chennai came to know about this games through the news channels. But I just want to say word to the media in India and all over the world... Instead of complaining they can do there part to make the game a success.

  • Comment number 27.

    I am saddened by the current situation at the CWG.

    Just 2 months ago Singapore held the 1st Youth Olympics and the head of the IOC said that it was the best Olympics he had ever attended (which meant it surpassed Sydney, Beijing, Athens and the others).

    It took Singapore just 2 years to organise the games which had no previous precedent since it was the first of its kind. I am therefore shocked that despite having 4 years to prepare and being able to refer to previous CWGs, the media appears to have reported the current situation as a shambles in terms of organisation, infrastructure and accommodation. I think future organisers should first go to Singapore to learn, this is what Lord Coe has done for the London Olympics and he has said that there are things from Singapore that he wanted to include in London.

  • Comment number 28.

    I believe there are two India’s one represented by Tata, Bharti, Infosys....etc; other by Delhi Development Authority, Congress Party... Suresh Kalmadi !!!!
    Trick is to work with the former without crossing path with the later...
    The world-class Delhi airport got no mention in the media here in Australia..it is bigger than Changi...
    What a pity...

  • Comment number 29.

    It is easy to pick on others' shortcomings, and admittedly, India is not helping itself here. Delays happen at every major event or project these days - for those smug English media, have you forgotten the Wembley Fiasco? How late was this project and at how much extra cost? Athens, Beijing, South Africa - all had problems. The main London 2012 stadium might be going well, but there is plenty of time for the rest of the infrastructure to go wrong. I notice the comment regarding the "bigger English-speaking nations" - do they delays or problems only affect English speaking nations? Are non English speaking nations not suceptible to the same issues? Perhaps the true agenda behind the media frenzy is coming through?
    I sincerely hope India is able to overcome the issues and stage a safe and successful games, as it is in everyone's interest, for the future of the Commonwealth Games. Withdrawals by teams could otherwise trigger tit for tat boycott of future events, which helps nobody.

  • Comment number 30.

    well, India has hosted successfully many events in the past. Dont disagree with the issues going on.. Pray that this does nto end up into Indian version of Wembley..

    There are enough resoruceful people with a will to get to the goal and games go ahead..

  • Comment number 31.

    Hope this event does not go down the history as Indian version of Wembley - whatever the reasons may be

  • Comment number 32.

    Post 28 has it right - if the organisation and construction for the games had been contracted out to Tata or Reliance, for example, there would have been a much better chance of on-time completion and understanding of what was required.

    Trouble is, there would still have been government interference/interaction, which is presumably why Delhi/India is in the position it's now in ahead of the CWG. Comparisons with China and the Olympics don't really work, as the total control from the centre in China cuts through any local issues (remember the numbers of people/army shipped in to clear the rowing venue, for example..).

    Net result of these problems with the CWG is unjust global criticism of India in toto, when many of its private sector companies are world-class operators; it's the state sector that's the issue.

  • Comment number 33.

    Post 28 has it right - if the organisation and construction for the games had been contracted out to Tata or Reliance, for example, there would have been a much better chance of on-time completion and understanding of what was required.
    Trouble is, there would still have been government interference/interaction, which is presumably why Delhi/India is in the position it's now in ahead of the CWG. Comparisons with China and the Olympics don't really work, as the total control from the centre in China cuts through any local issues (remember the numbers of people/army shipped in to clear the rowing venue, for example..).
    Net result of these problems with the CWG is unjust global criticism of India in toto, when many of its private sector companies are world-class operators; it's the state sector that's the issue.

  • Comment number 34.

    India as a nation is lost in its priorities.Wasting billions of dollars on CWG is absurb and abrupt beyond condemnation. India must spulrge up her social & physical infrastructure and institutional setup before even thinking of hosting these mega events. It ranks absymally low over global bench mark indices be it human development index or infrastructure. As far as negative publicity regarding CWG is concerned CWG organising commeittee, delhi and central governments and planners are responsible. Even if India manages to hold CWG it will only highlight her salotape and patchup work ethics that is evident each day. Those who were responsible for planning and implementing games related work from bidding should be brought to book and a precedent should be set.

  • Comment number 35.

    Someone very cynical might suggest that India, now that it is an "economic powerhouse", rather resents being part of the British Commonwealth, with the associated games only serving as a reminder of a time when they were ruled by a small island off the coast of Western Europe. If they wished to put that past behind them as they surge forward into a brave new future what better way to distance themselves than to help end this symbol of British Imperial rule by deliberately making a total pigs ear of organising them. Of course, I'm not that cynical, but it's a thought.

  • Comment number 36.

    India is learning to its cost that good project management is difficult. In this type of project you either succeed or you fail. You need the right man/woman for the job.

    The project manager's defensive casting of aspersions on the level of expectations of the international teams does not fix the problem which is they are not ready.

    They have had seven years to get this right, but their project has overshot the immoveable deadline. No excuses. Not even the monsoon, India has those rains every year. Such challenges should be built into the project plan.

    The racist comments about Britain above in the David Bond comments do not contribute to the debate, they just show the weakness of their originators arguments.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    33

    Agreed. There is also a remarkable parallel with the fiasco during construction of our very own Wembley stadium: over budget and very late in completion. The finished article is not widely admired either, especially the poor pitch. Arsenal's stadium at the Emirates built at the same time is in complete contrast.

    My beef with all these "big" competitions is that international sports bodies in most cases want brand new stadia and facilities. If all sports bodies followed FIFA's mindset then Sydney for example would end up with at least six 80,000 seater stadia for football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, althletics, cricket and Australian Rules.

    It is time that the UN took these international sports bodies to task. Existing infrastructure must be used as much as possible particularly for events that last only weeks. Considering world poverty, health issues spending billions on such events veers between grotesque and deeply immoral.

  • Comment number 39.

    33

    There is also a remarkable parallel with the fiasco during construction of our very own Wembley stadium: over budget and very late in completion. The finished article is not widely admired either, especially the poor pitch. Arsenal's stadium at the Emirates built at the same time is in complete contrast.

    My beef with all these "big" competitions is that international sports bodies in most cases want brand new stadia and facilities. If all sports bodies followed FIFA's mindset then Sydney for example would end up with at least six 80,000 seater stadia for football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, althletics, cricket and Australian Rules.

    It is time that the UN took these international sports bodies to task. Existing infrastructure must be used as much as possible particularly for events that last only weeks. Considering world poverty, health issues spending billions on such events veers between grotesque and deeply immoral.

  • Comment number 40.

    be very careful what you wish for . I seem to remember a certain athletics competition that was withdrawn from England - sheffield was it about 13 years ago? The Uk is not without its PR disasters - Wembley/ Millenium Dome/that fiasco in sheffield/commonwealth games funded by Robert Maxwell in Edinburgh/...there may be more. These games have only become newsworthy because of the current situation in India - a terrible indictment on our broadcast networks. Negativity rules. What pressure is being put on the "big" names to compete by their respective nations? Still. the Games will go ahead and I look forward to seeing some new household names being created in these friendly games. Go India!

  • Comment number 41.

    As usual England, the guinea pigs, have to go first because the athletics sports body haven’t got any balls and stand up for our athletes. What’s it gonna take one of them to become seriously injured?

  • Comment number 42.

    I was at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games four years ago in 2006. Even then speculation was rife that Delhi would be problematic, if not a complete disaster. I think its rather sad. I hope the organisers can turn things around at the eleventh hour but fear it is too little, too late. I thoroughly concur with an earlier comment that the Commonwealth Games Federation really ought to have kept a tighter control over the project to ensure it came in on time etc.

  • Comment number 43.

    The reality is that the infrastructure in India often does not meet what many of us would call acceptable. Last year I went to do some work for one of the largest IT companies in the world in a small town in Orissa State. The road from the airport petered out after 1 mile and then I had 5 miles of off roading to get to the campus, 200 yards before the campus smooth tarmac again. Superficially it looked like a high tech, high quality campus complete with hotel on site. What it turned out to be was a selection of buildings that had rivers running through when it rained due to leaky roofs and ill fitting windows and intermittent power supplies caused by dodgy electrics. But no-one complained (except me), it was just accepted by all the staff there. If a very wealthy private company accepts workmanship like I saw what chance has a publicly organised project like this?

  • Comment number 44.

    China has already completed the infrastructure for the 16th Asian Games for November and has handed the keys to games officials 2 months ahead of schedule. The venue some says surpasses the Beijing Olympics and ready to house 12,000 athletes and officials

    http://www.gz2010.cn/special/0078008F/venues09.html

  • Comment number 45.


    It probably would have helped if the CWG folk who inspected the site 3 months ago had INSISTED on being shown more than the 'show flat' in one Tower.

    Gullible fools.

  • Comment number 46.

    singhy

    I'm sure you have a valid point, but ultimately, what I'm seeing in both western and Indian media is an unmitigated disaster. Indians bemoaning some kind of media conspiracy against them are simply illustrating the problem of denial that has got them into this mess in the first place.

  • Comment number 47.

    darkvalleysboy1978

    bit of a closet racist are we?

  • Comment number 48.

    The photos of the place look fine to me just a bit dirty.

    Let the athletes do a bit of cleaning on their first day and problem solved.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm afraid that I don't think the comparisons with Wembley, Millenium Dome etc are valid here. Whilst the FA and the Government respectively certainly didn't cover themselves in glory with either of these projects, only one of them had an immovable deadline and the dome was duly ready for service on New Years Eve 1999. Wembley went hideously over budget and provided a shocking pitch, but the FA has a few cash cows under its auspices that minimised the financial risk involved (still a disgrace though).

    Delhi is a different matter all together. The issue of facilities not being up to standard is obviously a serious matter, but the question marks that have to be raised over whether facilities are actually safe for competitors and spectators is damning.

    The blame must be shared around though. To point the finger solely at India would be to ignore the senior member of the CGC who some time ago suggested that concerns raised by some western countries over whether the facilities would be ready and up to standard was little more than colonial patronisation. This was at a time when the CGC clearly needed to be increasing pressure on the Indian authorities to raise their game.

    It is a cautionary tale for any bidders for international sporting events. I might also add that it puts South Africa's excellent World Cup in context too. South Africa did not have the burgeoning economy to fall back on that India did but struggles with similar issues regarding a huge cultural and financial divide between the rich and the poor. As pointed out in the blog there were issues and problems, but the WC was a success and the stadia were, by and large, fantastic. One imagines that the WC is a much more challenging event to prepare for as well.

  • Comment number 50.

    lets not get into country standards 1st world, G8, third world all I can say is that if the photos I have seen in the media and the collapse of the bridge is anything to go by then it doesnt matter whether its India, USA, UK or Outer Mongolia with 10 days to go the CWG Commitee need to carry out an extensive review of all facilities and venues with a third party construction expert and make a decision is it safe or is it not. If it is safe India has to work as hard as possible to tidy up the areas and put the finishing touches (icing on the cake) then let the games begin.

  • Comment number 51.

    I spent six weeks in India and Pakistan, including Delhi, a couple of years ago. There is a huge cultural difference in standards of cleanliness. In India, even in affluent areas, there are huge piles of rubbish and rubble on almost every street corner, and I saw no sign whatsoever of any organised refuse collection. The Indian attitude seems to be 'as long as it's not in my house, that's good enough'. By contrast, Pakistan, particularly in the cities like Lahore, was comparatively spotless. But neither was up to the standards we in the UK expect from our own council services.

    Having said that, who are we to impose our standards on other countries? If that's how the Indians want to live, fine. Have our pampered athletes never roughed it for a couple of weeks? Go by all means: just don't expect it to look like a leafy street in Surbiton.

  • Comment number 52.

    Post 37 has it spot on. Having worked for an organisation that off-shored work to India solely because of cost, the quality of the work proved to be sub-standard because, in the main, the UK representatives of the organisation were not feeding back just how bad things were, in fact just the opposite, wat a wonderful job the India set-up was doing!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Has anybody else noticed that the Delhi stadium is a copy of the London Olympic stadium? As with most new buildings in our cities, we just copy what is built in the west - except we don't have the creative engineers and skilled workers to build them competently. Such a sad, and rapid, demise of once proud building traditions in this country.

  • Comment number 54.

    CWG Delhi is becoming like the Wembley of India!

  • Comment number 55.

    After all the fiction that was written about South Africa before the world cup I have some sympathy with the Indians. The sad thing is that most of the problems related to the athletes village sound like things that could've been fixed with just a little more time. I hope they pull this one out the fire.

  • Comment number 56.

    Didn't Jamaica organise a successful Commenwealth Games in 1956??? it was not exactly a front line economic power.

    People here seem to miss the point of the Commonwealth Games. It is shown in their nickname of "The Friendly Games". The level is reasonable in most sports, but the competition is not as cut-throat as in the Olympics. Athletics get a chance to sample international competition in a less intense, lesspressurised atmosphere and mix with colleagues of different cultures and backgrounds.

    Maybe in the 21st Century the Commonwealth Games ethos is dead, or dying. However, where you have African distance runners, sprinters from the Caribbean, swimmers from Australia and the UK and a huge polyglot mix of athletes, you are going to get world-class performances, even if some events are not quite up to scratch.

    Maybe it should all be about money now and the Commonwealth Games should be allowed to die: after all, only 60 or 70 nations compete (!!) but that would deny sportmen from Commonwealth countries a unique forum in which to compete.

    My bet is that India will come up with the goods in the knick of time and that this will give them a stern reminder as to the level of organisation that they need to aspire to if they are to run major events in the future.

  • Comment number 57.

    Am I missing something here. The games were given to Delhi some years ago. Has no-one from some committee or other to do with the games been given the task of visiting Delhi to the progress on a very regular basis. How has this problem only come to light now! And if someone hasnt been given that task, why havent they? Although things arent ready, India has spent a great deal of money and effort into this, expecting a positive long term effect. And because checks werent made on progress, they may end up losing that. And I KNOW how much positive effect there is from something like this, I live in a city which has hosted the games.

  • Comment number 58.

    Gosh once again if any citizen on this planet had the misconception that India is a Super power??? Let alone a competitor with China needs to stop watching Indian Bollywood movies and have a reality check.

    India has huge social issues...the money spent could have been invested towards poverty, hunger, shelter, sanitation, health....benefitting its poor masses (more than 84%)....I say boycott the game and shame the Govt.

  • Comment number 59.

    PS: Or the Indian PM should hold a press conference and blame the Pakistani ISI for this fiasco (as usual)!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Or the Indian PM should hold a press conference and blame the Pakistani ISI for this fiasco (as usual)!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Or the Indian PM should hold a press conference and blame the Pakistani ISI for this fiasco (as usual)!!

  • Comment number 62.

    As an Indian, it saddens me immensely when my nation becomes a mockery at the world stage. Rising power, 3rd most powerful nation of the world, a superpower are just tags given to us.. What we need to do is to deliver and make our presence in the world with a bang! This was an opportunity... and feels like an opportunity lost! So much was at stake on CWG.. I guess it'll take years to again live up to the reputation and to convince people that India to can also host international sporting events apart from Cricket!

  • Comment number 63.

    Well, one good thing about this is that India can blame no-one but internal squabbling and incompetence. It is quite clear that British officials saw signs for concern a long time ago and offered help, which was rebuffed quite publicly.

    As a result, India and only India, carries the can.

    It's not like they exploded a nuclear bomb though. They will be causing a lot of concern, annoyance and feelings of disrespect to their Commonwealth partners and one wonders what that says about their attitude to the Commonwealth that they would risk that? Perhaps their new best buddies, the Americans, encouraged them?? I hope not............and think probably not myself. But important to flush that out if it were the case.........since it would tell us things we don't want to hear but would need to know about our so-called closest ally...........

    A great shame.........

  • Comment number 64.

    It goes to prove that economic growth in BRIC countries is not enough to be able to stage world events. Hoping against hope CWG would go ahead and would be 'successful' but let us not forget that the people in the West have different expectations and what is acceptable standard is quite different. However it is no excuse if BRICs wish to stage such events they would not be expected to deliver high standard of service and hygiene.

    India and other BRICs country ought to lower their expectation and hold back from these sort of aspirations for at least another 10 years and concentrate on raising their standards to match what Guests they wish to entertain expect from them..

  • Comment number 65.

    I have travelled extensively through Asia and I agree with the poster who said acceptable levels of cleanliness in India and Pakistan are not what they would be in Europe. This is not only true for Europe, Malaysia and Thailand even outside of the big cities have a far higher level of hygiene than the sub continent. This being so it is very hard for athletes from affluent countries to endure conditions that are so alien to them and then expect them to compete at a high level. Many athletes will be too concerned for their health concerns to concentrate on competing.

  • Comment number 66.

    Forget the conditions which I agree are appalling; countries should boycott the games in protest at the use of child labour on the building sites. Look at the photo on the front of today's Daily Telegraph and ask yourself what the adult uses his stick for..............

  • Comment number 67.

    31. At 06:02am on 23 Sep 2010, lachyan wrote:

    "Hope this event does not go down the history as Indian version of Wembley - whatever the reasons may be"

    Terrible comparison. Wembley didn't have 72 countries waiting to use it! Indian organisation has been found wanting and no amount of "Blame-mongering" at or about the British will change that. India has been totally independent of Great Britain for 62 years. They've had 62 years to prepare themselves for their first great worldwide unveiling - and if it fails, internal issues of corruption and palm-greasing will be to blame. Any failings will be Indias alone to enjoy - THAT is the price of independence.

  • Comment number 68.

    1 - Gibbs wrote
    "BRICS - S stands for South Africa"

    Gibbs it doesn't, it should have been BRIC's, the "s" is the plural. Take it from a Geography Lecturer BRIC stands for Brazil, Rusia, India, China, unfortunately South Africa is not a rapidly growing ecanomic power house exerting its influence on the world stage, One can only hope that in the future BRIC becomes BRICS. We do need an assertive democratic African nation on the world stage.

  • Comment number 69.

    Oh Goodness Gratious Me!

  • Comment number 70.

    Oh Goodness Gratious Me!

  • Comment number 71.

    Whilst the conditions certainly needs to be improved, and should have been much better. It is also fair to take into account the unusual rains (worse in 40 years), and lack of support provided to Delhi from central CWG committee.

    Consider what happened to London when there was a bit of snow (compared with for example Vancouver) last year: nothing worked.

    Now imagine, an extreme whether condition, for example, 10 times the normal rains, in May/June occurring unabated for three months prior to London Olympics. There are going to be lots of last minutes things that would be affected.

    Similarly, in Delhi, particularly with the Athlete village, it seems the problem is last minute finishings and not the infrastructure. It seems with resources and will, they can be quickly done. Remember, it is still more than a week to go, and I'm sure (weather permitting) the things would rapidly improve.

    In my opinion, it is always a problem, particularly for first world to stamp their standard on the third world countries. Remember, world is not an even place, and what is 'good' and 'acceptable' differs from place to place, and at times you cannot simply transfer the values just like that. Therefore, it is always is easy to criticise, but, more difficult to either accept differences in perceptions, or better still communicate the expectations and requirements.

    I'm hopeful the things will become better.

  • Comment number 72.

    Goodness Gratious Me!

  • Comment number 73.

    Sorry #71 but I don't agree. Yes, the rains were in excess of those normally expected, but India is a country that has a "monsoon season", therefore they expect periods of very heavy and sustained rainfall ... and, given the proximity of monsoon season to the games, should have arranged for construction projects to be completed before the rains arrived to ensure no delay in construction as a result.

    Using an analogy of London's response to snow against Vancouver's is also unrealistic. We Brits love to complain at how the nation grinds to a halt at the slightest hint of snow, but the truth is we choose, as a nation, to be underprepared for that kind of weather because it happens so infrequently that maintaining the kind of infrastructure required to deal with it would be a waste of resources.

    Canada, Sweden, Norway, Russia, etc. "enjoy" that kind of weather on a regular basis and, consequently, maintain the resources necessary to deal with it.

    Likewise, India experiences monsoons on a regular (and predictable) basis and therefore could, and should, have factored the possibility of rain related problems into their planning.

  • Comment number 74.

    I feel sorry for all the people that post general concerns against the BRIC Countries overall and 3rd World.
    Although I do believe that Delhi does not cover themseves in glory,this is not a reason to generalize and feel that we, Europeans are, together with Americans the only developed and righteous 1st world.
    Long now is the time in which this could be afforded and now it sounds clearly racist.
    Canadian Winter Olympics were not that smooth withth lack of snow and preparations to it.
    Btritain, unfortunatelly cannot build anything on time and on Budget. Even the Olympics if you check how many times this Budget changed and the comparison between what was actually advertised on the bidding process and the actual price (wihotu mentioning for example the "White Elephants" like Stratford International which EUROSTAR siad it will not use), you get the picture.
    France with the ROMA crisis, US with their rundown cities, etc.
    I still believe that CWG will go ahead regardless and that in the end all this will be forgotten. Who complains now about China organization of the 2008 Olympics??. About SA2018 the only complaint I get sometimes is the poor refereeing (a lot of those were european anyway...) and the vuvuzelas. The tournement passed with not a single issue.
    So it will be Delhi probably.
    So it will be Brasil 2014 and 2018 and Russia 2014 WO.
    Face it: most of the countries in the world are now level apart form the (sad...) fact that Europe and US are becoming more and more THE PAST and BRIC is THE PRESENT and FUTURE.
    Or you say that your Pension fund does not have investment on BRIC's performance??

  • Comment number 75.

    I really can't see the point in all the sports being included in the Commonwealth Games. Many have their own World Championships and are included in the Olympics anyway (apart from Netball and other minority sports). Why not only include those sports that are not included in any other major sporting occasions, then that could be the pinnacle of their careers. This would make the games less high profile and less expensive to hold. Quite why athletics are still involved is beyond me as none of the premier athletes ever go anyway.

    Why do we still have a "Commonwealth" Games anyway?

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why is anyone surprised.

    Why have there not been progress checks along the way.

    If there have been checks why was lack of progress not acted upon.

    The program must have always been behing schedule so why all shock horror now.

  • Comment number 79.


    Why include sports which are involved in their own World Championships at all? If they wern't involved then it would make the games much cheaper to hold (and potentially make the the "friendly games".

  • Comment number 80.

    #71
    India had loads of time to be ready, man-power isn't exactly lacking. Politicians, Building companies are just so indulged in corruption and complete lack of ethics in their work, it's not even thinkable.

    The safety certificates issued for the stadia are more than likely fake, the number of buildings incidents or rooftops falling is way too important to consider the constructions to be safe for all. Sheila Dixit said there was no need to bother about the bridge that fell today, since it wasn't meant to be used by athletes or CWG delegates, but only by the common man. That begs the following question : were all stadia built with that mindset ? No need to bother if the stadia crumbles, killing only commoners ?

    The Athletes' village is a total shambles, as everyone could see, it's not even about differing standards of cleanliness anymore, it's about work ethics. Companies in the private sector would have probably done better (Perhaps not MUCH better, but better still), but this is downright farcical and beyond the worst preparations one could think of. The various delegations are remarkably polite to just delay the arrival of their athletes, they have legitimate reasons to not bring anyone altogether as things stand.

    Hopefully this will serve as a humbling lesson (and a thorough lesson everything that should be avoided when hosting large-scale events) for all nations bidding to host a major sports event, as it is : even if India somehow rescue their catastrophic situation, they won't be seen as credible hosts for such events in a very long time.

  • Comment number 81.

    What percentage of the village do those sent pictures represent? If five birth-rooms are not working but 95 are, use the 95. Unless you don't believe in the games.

  • Comment number 82.

    An unpopular suggestion as far as Sporting events go.

    We see the Olympics, Football World Cup, World Athletic Championships, Commonwealth Games, and other Sports Championships / Finals rotated around various nations.

    This requires a constant building of venues accommodation infrastructure and all the rest of it to facilitate the events.

    Perhaps it is time to give these events a home, a fixed location and hold them as there various time frames allow.

    Olympics = Greece the home of the Original Olympics
    World Athletics = USA (simply so they say they have a major event)
    Football (soccer) EU states perhaps shared between 2 neighbor countries, this could be rotated quiet easily as all EU countries have Premier Standard Football Facilities
    Commonwealth Games = London as it is the "Home Country" in regards to Commonwealth nations.

    etc etc etc..

    There are sports facilities all over the world that have been built specifically for these major sporting events and they now lie idle, and in some case dilapidated.

    The money wasted is a scandal.

  • Comment number 83.

    This is a disaster that many in India predicted and warned about months if not years ago. I was in Delhi in late august this year and all the news channels, magazines and newspapers were reporting these problems. It is a national shame that things have been allowed to reach this stage. What I saw in Connaught Place was incomprehensible. Every pavement was dug up with piles of building material and waste rubble lying around apparently for months! Worst of all, there was no sign of frentic building work taking place. The people of Delhi were angry and fed up with official complacency and ineptitude. There were those who said this is the way things always happen in India - it will all come together in the end, as it had for the hockey tournament.

    But there was no need for this mess. The new Terminal 3 at the airport is a shining example of what can be done in India. There is only one explanation for the fiasco of the CWG organisation. Corruption. There is no way a major showpiece of this scale can be almost 20 times overbudget, so exasperatingly behind schedule and at the same time so shoddy. Mere incompetence cannot explain all three.

    There should be a high level enquiry, when all this is over, and all those responsible must pay for this excruciating national disgrace.

  • Comment number 84.

    Being an Indian, I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed. But I am confident the games will go ahead and be spectacular.The British media seems to have gone on this bandwagon of criticising every thing. I want to put some perspectives.
    Transport:
    - Delhi international airport is many many years ahead to London's Heathrow.
    - Delhi Metro is far superior to the London Underground. At 420 km long, it is one of the world's longest networks. And still great. It links the Games Village to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in six minutes. No problems with any safety.
    Infrastructure:
    - Don’t forget construction of Wembley stadium: over budget and extremely late in completion.
    - Only 1 bridge out of more than 100 that were built has collapsed. Still inexcusable and embarrassing but get some real perspective. Don’t forget the monsoons. Has no bridge ever collapsed in England?
    Games Village:
    - It is the one of the best Games village in the world. Architecturally beautiful and its infrastructure is pretty good.
    - The only issue is of cleanliness- which come on is not the end of the world. Agreed hugely disappointing and embarrassing for India but it will be cleaned up and end of the problem.
    Security:
    - The Scotland Yard along with Indian Intelligence and Delhi Police have been working together for over 1 year now. The amount of troops/ police that are involved is staggering. So I don’t think this will be a issue.
    Quotes:
    -I compare it to the Athens Olympics when they were still planting trees on the day it opened. I don't think it can get any worse than that," Holmes - CWG England chief
    -CWG security extensive and well organised: Australia
    -England's Chef de mission Craig Hunter has said the arrangements at the Delhi Games Village are much better as compared to the Beijing Olympics.
    TO END:
    Everything after Beijing Olympics is going to be compared - I think it is extremely hard for London to surpass Beijing. So stop complaining.

  • Comment number 85.

    I don't know what the problem is. That's 5 star accommodation by Indian standards and the toilets have even got a flush, not a bucket! Are athletes more important than normal folk who visit India?

  • Comment number 86.

    I am sending this in the blog, as I did not have Mr. Bond's email address at the BBC:

    Mr David Bond it is important to check your facts before publishing in the future. Greece had to build all its stadia and facilities 'from scratch' for the Olympic Games in 2004. Your statement 'But unlike Delhi the main stadiums and venues were already built in Greece in 2004. The Indians have spent £1.5bn developing eight new arenas for the Commonwealth Games.' is totaly incorrect, as it implies that Greece did not hae to build much, whereas India did (and still DO!)

  • Comment number 87.

    Although the pictures of the games village rooms shown has been marked filthy and nasty,from my experience living in india,i can definitely say that those rooms can be transformed into "world class rooms fit for human habitation" in mere 2 days.Apart from that,what would be of particular interest to see is that how far india can handle the security issues concerning CWG games most likely by terrorists or so.

  • Comment number 88.

    Come on 'dmrickt' Based on the photos we have all seen, no-one can be expected to stay in the filthy places that have been shown on TV and in the newspapers. I guess you've never been to India. A 5-star 'big-city' hotel in India is absolute luxury - better than many 5* hotels in Europe - so don't assume that what you might have seen in 'Slumdog Millionaire' is typical throughout India.

  • Comment number 89.

    This has nothing to do with if the sprts men and women who are dur to go to Delhi are picking and choosing events. If it was me I would seriously question the build quality of the accomodation. Even from the photos of the last few days you can spot basic buiding mistakes like damp courses and even straight block work. The bridge collapse has also drawn attention to the build quality of anything to do with the games. It would be these factors that would worry me the most and I definately would have second thoughts.

    It is a shame that such a lovely place as India has had to go through this turmoil. The people of India deserved better from their Government and even if for the rest of the time they are as corrupt as heck, they all should have had the pride in this event to put things aside and make it the great

  • Comment number 90.

    Couldn't the athletes just check a well known Trip Advisor site before they go?

  • Comment number 91.

    In a nation where over 1/3 people stay below poverty line, spending gigantic proportions of money ($2.5 billion officially, $15 un-officially), is criminal. Apart from the government, the administration, the politicians, the bureaucrats - the blame should also be shared by the Indian media who keeps portraying it as a 'superpower'. Some of the leading national newspapers reported India being seen as the 3rd most powerful country by some US agency as their headlines when there was a pedestrian bridge collapse at the CWG games. As outrageous was the audacity of the corruption in the Games, it was equally shocking to see the perpetual undermining by the media in showing failings of a nation. Instead of self congratulatory articles, the media should show the actual state of affairs in the country, which it is consistently failing. Media has played an imperative role in development of nations. BBC itself has been instrumental in shaping this country. The very reason why it is still one of the best news media company in the world. Unless people are aware of what the world is ACTUALLY seeing India like and what the REAL ground reality is, India will always remain an 'Underdeveloped' country.

  • Comment number 92.

    I agree that there's been a total failure of the project management here and for that the Indian authorities are primarily to blame but as was said above where was the Commonwealth Games organising committee while all this was going on? People draw comparisons to Athens 2004 and how they went off smoothly in the end but that was no accident. When the first indications of trouble surfaced the IOC came down on the organising committee like a ton of bricks and set them rigorous deadlines to meet. The shameful prospect of having the Olympics cancelled or taken away from them forced the Greek authorities to pull their fingers out and they got there in the end. What supervision was there of Delhi's progress?

  • Comment number 93.

    I'm actually more likely to watch the commonwealthgames in light of recent reports.

    The new events such as 'Dodge the collapsing ceiling' 'The bridge breach leap' and the 'Dengue fever dash' have really brought the games into the 21st century.

    With any joy these games should be a nice blend of X Games & You've Been Framed:Extreeme!

  • Comment number 94.

    Whata devasting embarrassement for all indians and yet seriously what did you expect.

    India tries to be a first world country and yet the majority of it is third world both in infrastructure but also its treatment of the poor.

    This is what happens when a poor country is govern by a very rich minority.

    Maybe the money wasted on thei event would be better spenty helping its people in the countryside.

    They will want to host the olympics next!

  • Comment number 95.

    88. At 11:52am on 23 Sep 2010, sussexwinagain wrote:

    Come on 'dmrickt' Based on the photos we have all seen, no-one can be expected to stay in the filthy places that have been shown on TV and in the newspapers. I guess you've never been to India. A 5-star 'big-city' hotel in India is absolute luxury - better than many 5* hotels in Europe - so don't assume that what you might have seen in 'Slumdog Millionaire' is typical throughout India.

    I live here.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sadly this shows India to be what it really isn't - an emerging superpower. And what it is - a disorganised country of very limited space and natural resources whose greatest export is its people (educated or not) and yet one that consumes and freeloads the rest of the worlds technology and repackages this using cheap labour to undercut the rest of the world. India is a country that needs to stand on its own 2 feet and get organised and innovative otherwise it may already be seem to be a country on the decline.

  • Comment number 97.

    Olympic Games , Commonwealth Games - they are all a waste of money.

    If the accommodation isn't up to scratch, put the athletes in hotels, what's the problem.

  • Comment number 98.

    We should stop wasting our time and money on this and pull the plug now. Dont even bother sending the team.

    This would also serve as a warning to others organising such events (London 2012) that failure will not be tollerated.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    It is rather sad if this is the best that India has to offer. I would move my teams into a hotel, they are definitely not going to have it ready by the time the teams get there.

 

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