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Malhotra concerned over India's performance at CWG

india Updated: Jul 13, 2010 19:25 IST

Archery Association of India (AAI) president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said on Tuesday the preparation of Indian athletes for the Commonwealth Games is suffering as the government has not made available the venues for practicing for the Oct 3-14 mega-event.

Malhotra lambasted the government, saying probables of varous disciplines are forced to practice at far off places and under unfavourable conditions.

"We are fast losing the advantage of being the host nation," Malhotra, who is also the senior vice president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"Every host nation provides the facilities of practicing at venues a year in advance, but despite spending billions of rupees on the infrastructure, our sportspersons have been deprived of the advantage," he said.

He also said much of the equipment for the sportspersons is still to be imported.

Malhotra said his main worry is about India's performance in the Commonwealth Games.

"We have raised the expectations of people and it will be embarasing if we do not finish first or second in the medals tally."

He said India performed very well in 2002 at Manchester and 2006 at Melbourne. "We finished a creditable fourth in both these games without spending so much of money. If we do not improve our tally at home, then questions will be raised regarding the very purpose of hosting the Games."

The AAI chief also cautioned the government about its repeated assertion that all the infrastructure is ready, and quoted Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennell's speech at Wagah-Attari border last month that lot of work remains to be done.

Malhotra said the Games are only 80 days away, but two main venues -- the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and SP Mukherjee swimming pool -- are still to be completed.

"The delay is not only creating concern but also breeding corruption. It is high time the government stops making tall claims and concentrates on completing the projects."

He also lamented that government has not announced a hike in the prize money for the medal winners.

"It is shocking that the government has reduced the prize money for this year's Commonwealth and Asian Games medal winners by 50 per cent. It has to be higher than what medal winners got before."