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Opening re-jigged, security in a mess

other Updated: Jul 19, 2012 01:38 IST
Olympic Games

Britain may have to call up yet more soldiers to police the Olympic Games, the government said on Wednesday, after a failed private sector recruitment drive left an embarrassing hole in security and dashed London’s dreams of a spotless showcase.

The security fiasco and doubts over the ability of London’s strained transport system to handle a swarm of visitors have overshadowed an event which the government still hopes will give recession-hit Britain something to celebrate.

The latest victim of London’s roads and rail network system was the opening ceremony of the Games, the brainchild of Oscar-winning British film director Danny Boyle due to be watched by an estimated one billion people worldwide.

The ceremony has been re-jigged because rehearsals were over-running to avoid a possible late stampede for trains and buses home. “We need to make sure the show comes in on time, to make sure spectators can get home on public transport,” a LOCOG spokesman said.

The omens did not look good as athletes from across the world poured into London this week. Some athletes tweeted their frustration after their drivers got lost on the way from Heathrow airport on the outskirts of west London to the Olympic village in east London.

Indian security firm offers help

London: The chief of India’s biggest protection firm has offered to fly over 2,000 of his specially trained men to help the British government in the wake of a Games security scandal that has forced it to call for the army. Rahul Nanda, whose Topsgrup protects IPL matches with a workforce of 93,000, said he’s willing to contribute 500 men into a security pool if other protection firms in Britain also agreed to chip in. “But if it comes to it, I wouldn't even mind chartering five planes and sending 2,000 of my men over to London.” -- Dipankar De Sarkar