The 2010 Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held in India’s capital city Delhi on Oct 3-14, is facing trouble over security and safety concerns.
An Australian discus champion and an English triple jumper have withdrew and more than 40 officials and athletes from the Scottish team have delayed their flight to Delhi. And New Zealand’s prime minister has said that he would support any of his country’s athletes who did not attend.
The venue preparation was always in questions and never seemed to follow the timeline, but Delhi was still given green light last year to go ahead, probably in consideration that the Indians have had a decent record to rush things up with their excessive manpower.
Unfortunately things are not going as smooth this time; many of the venues are still not fully completed with the Games just weeks ahead. Accusations of corruptions are flying here and there but foreigners won’t bother much about that. What the visitors want is a safe place to compete in the Games, but with news of a pedestrian over-bridge collapsing near the main stadium and part of the ceiling at the weightlifting venue falling down, there’s reason to be feared.
Security issue is another concern with news of two Taiwanese being wounded by gunshot just a few days ago in the city, with the deadly Mumbai attack in 2008 still fresh in many people’s mind. To make it worse an Australian undercover journalist has claimed that he managed to bring a bag of crude explosives – bought in Delhi – into the venue without being discovered by the securities.
Concerns are also raised on facilities at the athletes’ village, where toilets were filthy and flats unfinished. At least four countries have issued ultimatums and some are considering staying in hotels instead of the athletes’ village. The health concerns are further complicated by dengue outbreak and a new superbug.
7,000 athletes (and officials) from 71 Commonwealth teams are due to compete in 17 disciplines in the Delhi Commonwealth Games. A mass boycott seems unlikely but there’s possibility that more athletes would withdraw personally despite the reassurance by some Indian officials that everything will be ready in time.
[Update] Delhi managed to pull it off in the end. A decent game.