Delhi learning downside of hosting Games
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.
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.
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.