Will they or won’t they like it? The question was answered on Thursday as delegates from 71 Commonwealth nations visited some of the 2010 Commonwealth games sites in Delhi.
While there were some words of appreciation for the kind of infrastructure being readied for the 2010 Games, there were also concerns over the fact that a lot of the work was still incomplete.
“Ideally, by this time the Games venues should have been made operational. I don’t see that happening,” said Chris Jenkins, a delegate from Wales. “It is a major concern for us.”
Delhi’s traffic drew some compliments as bulk of the vehicles was kept off the delegates’ way with the help of diversions. “I just hope that during the Games too, the traffic is like this,” said Vivian Gungaram, a delegate from Mauritius.
The delegates are here on a two-day field visit and to attend the Commonwealth Games Federation general assembly. On day 1, the delegates — 200 of them — visited the Games Village, Thayagaraj Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Talkatora Stadium and Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Andrew Pipe from Canada said: “There are a whole array of questions that we have on transportation, ticketing and other logistics. We have not got the details from the organising committee yet on these aspects.”
He said the deadline was also a concern. “Delhi has already missed some of its internal milestones set by the Games Federation.”
Pipe said it was “promised that India would provide details two years in advance about the transportation plans for bringing players from Canada to Delhi”. “But I am yet to get the specifics,” he said.
Canada lost out to India during the bidding for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Delegates from Cameroon and Mauritius said they were confident that India would pull it off. The organising committee officials too brushed off the fears raised by some delegates. “We believe in bringing order out of chaos... Everything would be ready before October 3, 2010,” said an organising committee official who did not want to be quoted.
“Security remains a concern in all such major events. Our government is working closely with the Indian government on this,” said David Ojonge, a delegate from Cameroon. “Whatever our government and security agencies tell us, we will adhere to it.”
The delegation headed by Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell will visit the rest of the venues on Friday.
Fennell has been critical of Delhi’s preparations and warned that the Games was heading for a “partial failure” unless the organisers pulled up their socks.