A Happy and a Sporting New Year to you. The Year of the Games is here. One of the first things we have heard is the fact that Australia would send its largest contingent to the XIX Commonwealth Games. There could not have been a more powerful affirmation of the fact that we are on track to hosting the largest and the best Games.
Coming on the heels of the good reports in the wake of the visits by the Commonwealth Games Federation’s CoCom and its president Mike Fennell last month, I was delighted to hear that Australian Commonwealth Games Association’s chief executive Mr. Perry Crosswhite had stated that his nation will send its largest contingent to a Games overseas, topping the 371, sent to Manchester in 2002.
Similar news has emanated from London. I believe that with the British Government investing a lot in training athletes for the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the contingents from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be larger than in the past.
With a Games Village that will be better than the ones in Melbourne and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, with world class sports infrastructure coming up in Delhi and with our traditional hospitality being a big draw, we know we will be able to set new benchmarks, not the least being the huge number of athletes who compete in Delhi.
I am heartened by statements from the British Foreign Office and CWG England that rejected a newspaper report that British teams were mulling a pull out from Delhi 2010. I must reiterate that under the Home Ministry’s supervision, those charged with the task of providing security for the Games family — and that includes the spectators — have assured us of their best.
The Government has approved state-of-the-art Integrated Security System for the CWG at an estimated cost of Rs. 370 crore and the International Security Liaison Group, formed by the Home Ministry, has kept channels of communication with security experts from all nations and territories. Our security team has convinced each of these delegations that it would leave no stone unturned to provide the tightest security.
While my colleagues in the Organising Committee and everyone concerned with the conduct of the Games know we have work to do in the months ahead, I cannot but smile in the knowledge that we have done enough already to make many concede that Delhi would be better than Melbourne in quite a few ways. And, I know you, dear fan of Indian sport, will contribute towards that.