Thursday, August 26, 2010

Incredible India will make the CWG happen!

Enough of all the negative publicities on the Delhi Commonwealth Games and let the Organisers prove their worth and make the Games the “Best Games Ever”.
From fast acquiring the taint of the most corrupt Games ever, poor administration, budgets that have exceeded several times over, endless delays in executing projects, delays in delivery of venues and infrastructure, delays in the stadiums being fully ready with overlays in place, time constraints for thorough security clearance, the monsoon creating havoc to bring down venues and exposing weaknesses in brand new stadias and the list goes on has been the talk of the Games.
All this is something India does not need when it is trying to portray to the world of what it is capable of.
But it is excess baggage it has to carry long for the Games.
However, with just 38 days left for the Games, enough is enough and let us give a fair chance for the organisers to try and correct all the wrongs, put what is not in place, in place, get their act together and put in every ounce of energy to get the Games all ready for action come Oct 3 for the 12 days sporting extravaganza.

Infact, it is less than 38 days, because by Sept 15, everything needs to be ready and raring to go.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind is, whether everything will be ready?
In the three-and-half months I was with the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi as Director (Press Operations), I have seen what India is capable of.
I have seen how things have progressed over the period. Although all should have been ready much earlier, work was certainly going on at feverish pace to meet new deadlines.
While still deadlines have not been meant, I strongly believe everything will be ready in the next two or three weeks.
My confidence stems from what I had witnessed of the brand new Indira Gandhi International Airport (Terminal 3) which was inaugurated on July 15.
Less than a month before the inauguration, I had the rare privilege of being part of team from the OC to visit the airport, where we were given a full briefing and tour of the airport.
What we witnessed was that the airport was far from ready and certainly did not look that it will be for the inauguration on July 15.
But it was.
When I flew out from Delhi from this state-of-art airport on Aug 2, I was shocked and in disbelief.
The same building which I and many in the group from OC had doubts will be ready, was not only fully operational, but a sight to behold.
I could clearly remember when I visited the airport in June were debris strewed all over, the wires hanging from all corners, the toilets not ready, the flooring was not fully carpeted, the air conditioning was not fully functional, the lighting system was far from complete, travelators were still not in place, the overlays had hardly began, workers all over the airport working at feverish pace and in short the airport was far from ready or looked like it is going to be in a month.
My first impression when I saw the fully operational airport when I departed Delhi was that someone came down and waved his magic wand and everything was put in place.
Indeed, it was an incredible sight because the airport was magnificent without a single flaw.
And that is what India in capable of – achieving what looks impossible.
Thus, I have no doubts that all the venues will be ready for the Games.
My only concern is that some of the venues which will be completed at the eleventh hour, will not have the benefit of being fully being tested and hopefully nothing untoward happens to the venues during the Games.
My the concern is the security measures taken for the Games may turn out to be a nuisance and inconvenience to all – from the athletes, officials, media personnel, spectators to the visitors.
I understand fully the need for such tight security, but like it or not, it is going to stick out like a sour thumb and many will be grumbling. But this is India and you just have to live with it. A great deal of patience and tolerance will be required and without that, tempers are going to be flaring up in every nook and corner.
And if the athletes think they can experience India after their events by visiting places or shopping, they can forget about it.
All they will see in India will be the airport, the Games Village, the dedicated roads their buses will take to the venues, their respective venues, before they board their flight back home.
An organised train trip to Agra is in place for athletes and officials and if they are lucky, they can probably experience this.
The Games will happen and there will definitely be memorable moments created by the athletes in the different events.
Never mind many top athletes have withdrawn. The show will still go on and there are enough reputable athletes to still make the Games exciting and memorable.
The Indian athletes will be play a big role to ensure that the Games is a success by dishing out credible performances and if their total medal tally pushes India from their fourth best to third, everything else will be forgotten.
Sport is often held up as a prime example of something that can unite people from the most diverse backgrounds. It’s an activity that makes the usually divisive factors of geography and history irrelevant. And that is something India will be banking on to make Games a success.
This is the beauty of sports. All the controversies and negative reports will all take a back seat when the athletes make the Games happen!
It will be the performances of the athletes which will overshadow all the negativeness. The ecstasies, agonies, the tears of joy or failure, the stories behind a success, the heartbreaking stories and anything the athletes have to say about their success or failure, will leave unforgettable memories.
So for now, let India prepare for their moment of glory.
But the officials, who had brought so much disgrace to India before the Games, should not be allowed to bask in the glory, but taken to task and made to pay the price for their follies when the Games is over.
If you still have doubt that India will not pull through the Commonwealth Games, please be reminded that this is INCREDIBLE INDIA! Everything is possible and they are definitely more than capable of delivering the Games.
I will not be posting any more negative reports from the Indian newspapers or televisions, as a mark of respect for what India is capable of.
I am sad that I will not be there to personally witness the moments of glory during Games, for the short period I worked with them, I have become so much a part of them and feel for them to make this Games a success.
All the very best and I am very sure there will be many success stories India will bask in at the end of the Games to erase all the humility they have faced thus far.
Jai Ho!

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