With the 2010 Commonwealth Games less than a year away, India would need to pull up its socks and take responsibility for hosting a good event. Or so explained Michael Fennell, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), after the CGF Executive Board Meeting in New Delhi on Monday.
“Time is your enemy,” Fennell said to the Organising Committee (OC), whose chairman Suresh Kalmadi, was also present. “But together, we can defeat it,” he reiterated.
Fennell said the inspection of the Games venues by the CWG delegates earlier had been successful and everyone was impressed by the exceptional hospitality they received. However, he impressed upon the fact that the CGF believed the city faced an enormous challenge to overcome the problems of meeting the infrastructure and construction of venues.
When Fennell was asked if the CWG delegates had explored alternative venues, the president said: “There is no plan B. New Delhi is our plan B.”
Fennell’s meeting with the Prime Minister could not be held as Manmohan Singh was busy touring states for election campaigning. But M.S. Gill, Union Minister of Sports, met Fennell on two occasions and presented a detailed report to the PM.
“I am satisfied with the response of the Indian government, that they now realise the importance of the task at hand,” Fennell said.
The CGF Executive Board has also decided to establish a high-level independent Technical Review Panel, which will meet every month to monitor progress.
With security concerns remaining a priority, Fennell said the General Assembly was satisfied operating in a safe and secure environment, which could be extended to the Games itself.
Fennell also said that the CWG was more concerned with operational issues than the actual pace of construction. With overlays at the venues to be taken up after their completion, Fennell said: “We need to keep up the pressure on the authorities to avoid any further slippage.”
The CWG suspended Fiji's membership from the Commonwealth, ruling it out of the 2010 Games. Fiji was suspended last month after it failed to meet certain conditions of membership, including holding early democratic elections.
Representatives from Samoa, hosting the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, were unable to make it to Delhi because of the recent tsunami that hit the nation.
They would apprise the CWG of their progress later. Isle of Man, a self-governing British dependency situated between Britain and Ireland, will be hosting the 2011 Youth Games.