Chaos reigns but Kalmadi upbeat

first_imgCGF chief Michael Fennel with OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi at the Delhi airport on Thursday afternoon.On yet another embarrassing day marked by player pullouts and severe criticism, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CWG OC) was making a last minute dash to complete preparations for the controversy-ridden event. Work progressed on a war footing on Thursday to get the Games Village – dubbed filthy and uninhabitable by international delegates – ready, even as the first batch of Indian athletes moved in.The worldwide outrage over the last couple of days prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take stock of the situation in a meeting with sports minister M. S. Gill and urban development minister Jaipal Reddy, who also heads the group of ministers overseeing the CWG work.Home minister P. Chidambaram cracked the whip, issuing a 24- hour ultimatum to the OC to wind up work at all the stadiums for the security lockdown.While the minister set a one-day deadline for the stadiums, he asked for the CWG Village to be handed over by Friday mid-night.Sources revealed that the Village’s security lock-down was done on September 20. But with a fresh batch of 420 workers being sent into the premises for a clean- up job on Thursday, the security sanitisation process would have to be carried out again. It is also believed that if certain training venues are not handed over to the security agencies by Friday, they may not be used at all.In other important developments, New Zealand joined the growing list of countries delaying their arrival and two Canadian archers became the latest to opt out.advertisementThis despite the fact that the Union government reportedly rang up the sports ministers of Australia and New Zealand, reassuring them that New Delhi was doing everything possible to ensure the smooth conduct of the Games. A senior official said the two countries as well as Scotland had been specifically assured that ” sanitation will be fully taken care of and security will be watertight”. OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi surfaced after lying low for two days and painted a rosy picture. He claimed that the chefs de mission of all the participating nations were a happier lot now. He said the conditions at the Village had improved over the past couple of days and gave an assurance that none of the teams would pull out.”I spent time at the Village this morning and am satisfied with the progress in raising the standards of all the 32 towers in the residential zone to the level expected by our honoured visitors,” Kalmadi said at the airport, where he had gone to receive Commonwealth Games Federation ( CGF) president Mike Fennell.The CGF chief assessed the preparations and even sought a meeting with the Prime Minister, which has not yet been granted.New Zealand joined Canada, Scotland and Wales to put off their travel plans to India. The Canadian archers who pulled out, citing health and safety concerns are Kevin Tataryn and Dietmar Trillus. It was also understood that the Kiwis’ contingent might base itself in Singapore till the Village was fully ready for the teams to shift in.The New Zealand Olympic Committee said the travel plans of the team had been altered because there was a long list of outstanding issues. ” The Village will now not be ready for the New Zealand athletes to move in as planned. It is tremendously disappointing. We know how hard this must be for the athletes and we’re continuing to push… for an urgent resolution,” NZOC president Mike Stanley said.For all the claims made by Kalmadi, New Zealand’s chef de mission Dave Currie said a lot of work still needed to be completed at the Village. His comments came even as the BBC released pictures which showed filthy toilets, stained staircases and dirty beds in the athletes’ rooms.Despite being committed to participation in Delhi, Australia issued a fresh travel advisory for its athletes and Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced extra officials to accompany the contingent.With mounting fears of safety, Australia will also send a team of top police officers to New Delhi to provide high- level security for its athletes.Amid the gloom, there was some good news as well with South Africa remaining committed to participating in the Games. ” We are satisfied that all the areas of concern have been addressed as for now,” Tubby Reddy, the head of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, said.He, howeverR, said that if the health or safety of the athletes was compromised at any point of time, the team will immediately pull out of the Games.advertisementAustralian CWG Association chief Perry Crosswhite, too, said the condition of the Village was acceptable as of now and also confirmed the arrival of their contingent for the Games. ” The conditions at the CWG Village are acceptable.Things are getting better all the time. The residential towers are improving. However, water at the basement is a bit of a concern for us,” Crosswhite said at a media conference.He added that the Australian contingent would reach the Capital on September 27.(With inputs from PTI)last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *