Saturday, September 25, 2010

Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010: Story till now...

The official logo for the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010

November 2003: New Delhi, India wins the bid to host the Commonwealth Games 2010 by defeating Hamilton, Canada by 46 votes to 22 at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly held in Montego Bay, Jamaica in November 2003. India shifted the balance in its favour in the second round of voting with a promise that it would provide US$100,000 to each participating country, along with air tickets, boarding, lodging and transport. It was the third time India was going to held such a huge event (earlier being Asian Games in Delhi in 1951 and 1982). Also, India was soon to become the second country in Asia to held Commonwealth Games after Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998. 

The flag handover ceremony at Commonwealth Games 2006, at Melbourne.

46 Commonwealth countries entrusted India and hoped for a good show ahead in 2010. But, the present conditions don't say so. 

It was in 2003, when India was given the responsibility. India was given about a span of 92 months to complete with the venues, infrastructure etc. But, the work started in mid-2007 because of which we are facing the present situation.

It was obvious, if the work starts late, it is going to end late. In January 2010, Indian Olympic Association Vice-Chairman Raja Randhir Singh expressed concern that Delhi was not up to the mark in for building up the required infrastructure, following a 2009 Indian Government report showing that about two-third of the venues were behind schedule. Later, Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Mike Fennel, stated that slow process of preparations posed a threat to the games. After such warning, and appealing by our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh to the laborers to work day and night in order to complete the basic venues, we were able to complete the venues. But there was more to come. Completion was one thing, and strong build was another. There were news of poor building and chaos around the venues. 
The whole event has been surrounded by controversies. Right from the poor quality stadiums to delays to security issues to labor violations to corruptions. Incidentally, an Australian TV crew from 'Seven Networks' walked passed security with a dummy bomb and it's detonator on 18th September, which led to famous players dropping out of the games (however, now almost all countries have confirmed of coming to the mega event). When the first lot of guests arrived, there was a ray of hope. They were quite happy with the games village and stated that this is the best games village they have ever seen in any sporting event. There was a ray of optimism. But this was short lived when two Taiwanese tourist got shooted outside Jama Masjid. And when later in the evening a blast took place by a pressure cooker bomb. Ironically, there were around 17 CCTV camera's outside the gate number 3 of Jama Masjid, but none of them were working when the incident took place. The officials showed quickness to keep the guests calm and show that everything is alright, but again to their unluck the next day the walk-away bridge, connecting parking area to Jawaharlal Nehru National Stadium, collapsed injuring 27 people out of which 5 are seriously injured. It is said that this bridge was constructed by the same firm which was blacklisted by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation last year. The worse was yet to come. Falling of the false ceiling in one of the stadiums, however none were injured. 3 days of continuous rains and flood in yamuna river posed more problems. The water has reached to the boundary walls of the Games village and the stagnant water poses threat of dengue. Many are complaining of the present situation of the games village and talk about the un-hygiene accommodation. When the Delhi government ordered Municipal Corporation of Delhi to clean up the mess at the games village, they refused! Now, the New Delhi Municipal Concil has been given the responsibility. Australian prime minister said that they are concerned about the security and hospitality issues in the country and it is the individual choice of athletes to go for it or not. Ironically, the same day, Ricky Pointing, Australian cricket captain said that they feel very much secure here and has no fear of any kind.

Pictures released by the British Broadcasting Corporation about the games village, caused a fuss in the commonwealth countries. Many countries refused to come to the games, saying the conditions were horrible and not suitable for habitat. Here are the pictures released.

The conditions are usable according to authorities. Really?

And they call this clean.

The paan and ghutka thrown about.

The un-hygiene toilets. Lalit Bhanot says the toilets are hygiene for you and us, but western countries and different standards. Oh, is this hygienic for you then?

This looks potentially dangerous in the area.

With only 10 days left, the finishing work is still not complete.

The area doesn't seems to be maintained and looks like a mess.

Some of the walk-ways look potentially dangerous.

Pug marks on the mattresses, probably of the dogs roaming around in the games village area!

Still the work is going on, and the places are not clean.

Area is still corded off which poses a threat in rains.

Construction still going on with wires laid here and there.

Glass barrier shattered in the balcony!

However, when the guests from England arrived on Friday, they were quite happy with the games village and urged the commonwealth countries not to go with the hyped media news. 

It is worth mentioning that the Commonwealth Games 2014, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland is already complete with the preparation and all the stadiums and infrastructure is ready. That is preparations!
National Indoor Sports Arena, Glasgow, Scotland

There was another concern for the organising committee, apart from just completing the venues and receiving the guests. There was widespread anger among the people of Delhi and India that even after wasting their hard-earned money, they are not able to give a big show. They complained of mess, traffic jams etc. all over the city. Many parts of the city were in horrible conditions. The roads were under-construction. There was a question raised among the people, is it all justified for the games. A day before yesterday, Delhi's Chief Minister, on the Hindustan times, appealed to the people of the country, that these games benefited the country and it was for the people of the country. She was able to console to everyone that after the games are over, the infrastructure built up for the games would be put up to good use and for the betterment of the common man. She urged everyone to take the games as festivals and maintain the spirit of the games.

So many controversies, worries, tensions, anger going in the country. But we need to realize, that this is not the right time for it. Everyone is blaming the organizers. But we need to understand now that nothing can be done now. What has been done, has been done. We now need to go forward with whatever we have. Prime Minister has called a meeting (not inviting Suresh Kalmadi), to discuss the situation. All the controversies can be discussed after the games, but now our primary concern should be the games. The major difference which I see between us and the Chinese people is that they took the Olympic games as festivals and not merely games. There is should be a kind of joy and spirit of games in people's mind which is missing. China had that, and so the world looked at them with astonishment in 2008. They showed that they are something. We were also given a chance, but we wasted 4 years. But still we have time. Although, it may not be as good as expected, but enough to give a message to the world, "Watch out! India is emerging!". We are doing well. The Prime Minister has urged everyone responsible for the preparation to let out there heart and soul for the success. Mr. Suresh Kalmadi has promised, no team will back out. We are all ready, and the best proof is Google! Yes, in the following picture you can see, according to Google all the stadiums are complete!

When searched about 'incomplete stadiums', Google returns 'did u meant complete stadiums'.This is the best proof to tell anyone, that India is all set!

What we are lacking behind is not the stadiums, but the spirit in the people's mind. According to a poll conducted by Hindustan times, almost 68% of the people believed that commonwealth games is a shame for them! Only 48% said that they are willing to go and see matches. The spirit should not lack behind. The world is watching us. The time has come to show everyone who we really are. We are given a chance. It all depends on us how we take it. We still have time. And anything can be done. What we need is spirit. What we need is joy. If this joy and spirit comes in each of us, I am sure we will be able to pull out a great show! The authorities can just give accommodation to the guests, but it's we who can make their visits here memorable. Authorities are not whole and sole responsible for the games, the responsibility was given to India, which includes the citizen on India. What I urge to you all is not to pay attention to the un-necessary hyped news of media these days. The authorities are doing their best. Let us show our best. We are doing well. We are all set.

Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex
Thyagaraj Sports Complex
Indira Gandhi Sports Complex

Dr. S.P. Mukherjee Swimming Stadium
Talkatora Indoor Stadium
Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium
Siri Fort Sports Complex
Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range
R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex
Yamuna Sports Complex
Delhi University
CRPF Shooting Range
Organising Committee Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 Headquarters
Main Media Center
Indira Gandhi International Airport

As you can see, we are all set for the games. There is no need to panic. We are almost complete. It was just due to the un-necessary panic created by the media, that there was a little confusion among the commonwealth countries. However, whoever comes here, could not stop appreciating the arrangements. There are just a few small things to be cleared out, which I am sure will be sorted out. But for now, let the games begin with a bang, let the world watch us. Take pride! Be a part of it. A lot is on stake, and we are the ones who are going to give the final touches by giving them a nice stay in the best country of the world! 

Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 mascot, Shera

Visit here the official Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi website.

Visit here the official Commonwealth Games Federation website.

Visit here the official website of Indian Olympic Association.

Visit here the official website of Glasglow Commonwealth Games 2014.

Visit here the official YouTube channel of Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi.

Visit here the official Facebook Fan Page of Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi.

Visit here the official Twitter page of Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi.

Download here the official theme song of Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi.

"Jiyo Utho Badho Jeeto"

"Come Out And Play"

"Take Pride!"