Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, was effusive in his praise of the spectacular opening ceremony in the first media interaction since the Games began but complaints over ticketing problems and food poisoning at the Village quickly put him on the defensive.
“Tomorrow is the deadline for solving for all the problems,” said Kalmadi, adding, “I will seek a detailed report and come back to you tomorrow.”
The 66-year-old sports administrator goofed up when he was briefing the media about the delegates present at the opening ceremony, referring to Prince Charles as ‘Prince Diana’, evoking chuckles from journalists and even a faint smile from CGF president Michael Fennell. Realising his mistake, Kalmadi was quick to rectify it.
Fennell too said the opening ceremony ‘could be considered successful’ but pointed out the poor spectator turnout in some venues. To this, Kalmadi said, “I know there are some problems but some venues like aquatics attracted fair amount of audience.
We are setting up ticket box offices in all the venues and from today you will find packed venues. We have already sold over six lakh tickets and sales are expected to pick up.” He also said that efforts were on to get schoolchildren and people from the ‘lower level of society’ to visit the different venues. Michael Hooper, CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), too gave a thumbs-up to the security saying he ‘felt safe in Delhi.’
Jiji Thompson, Special DG, OC, denied reports of two Australian swimmers suffering from food poisoning at the Games Village.