In exactly a month from now, Commonwealth Games will be over. The missed deadlines, the leaking roofs, the heaps of debris, the seemingly overpriced procurements — all the chaos and controversies that have become the calling card of the Commonwealth Games, will be history.
But what is going to be left behind is an international-standard sports infrastructure and a much-developed city that is ready to compete with the best in the world.
The Organising Committee says the development was the main reason for holding the Commonwealth Games in the Capital.
“If it wasn’t for the Games, who knows how many more years India would have had to wait for this world-class infrastructure. The Commowealth Games, the Olympics and other such events act as a springboard for development in countries they are held in,” said Priya Singh Paul, head of Communications and Legacy at the Organising Committee.
But this kind of transition is not new for Delhi. For the Ninth Asian Games, held in 1982, Delhi had constructed two main stadiums — the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. But that was 28 years ago and Delhi needed another such catalyst for development in the 21st Century, officials say.
“Now, our stadiums and their grounds are of international standards, giving our athletes and budding sportspersons a level-playing field with their counterparts in the developed world,” said H.S. Kingra, in charge of the Commonwealth Games coordination at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which owns most sporting venues for the Games.
There is, however, a small hurdle — maintenance of this infrastructure. The government is trying to decide what to do with the stadiums after the Games because maintaining them with their current grandeur is not an easy task. The SAI is seeking a private partner for the maintenance of these places.
“One of the models under consideration is that we allow a regulated non-sport commercial use of some parts of these structures, so that they are self-sufficient and not a burden on the exchequer.”
The organisers are confident that India will be viewed as professional sports event manager after the Games.
“Aided by international experts, OC officials — both in the government and the private sectors — and its vendors, have become a niche workforce in Games management,” Paul said.
The legacy of the Commonwealth Games will stay long after the closing ceremony.