Our hard work is already bearing fruit: Kalmadi
There are 72 days – and 72 nights – to go for the start of the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi and the excitement is building up to a crescendo. The headquarters of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, with a staff of close to 2000, is buzzing round the clock as we strive to achieve our collective vision of producing the best Commonwealth Games ever.
I can see that our work is already bearing fruit. Thanks to the splendid work by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor, security concerns appear to be a thing of the past. It is also clear that the Chefs de Mission of each of the 70 other nations and territories who will compete in the Games went back satisfied after their seminar here a couple of months ago. That is reflected in the fact that each of them is sending its largest ever contingent to a Commonwealth Games.
Delhi 2010 will be the biggest ever Commonwealth Games, what with Australia, England and Canada – and many other nations – telling us that they will field their biggest contingents ever. After all, we have built the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi around the athletes.
Be it the competition venues or training venues or the Games Village, catering or transport, we have kept the athlete in focus when designing the facilities and making decisions. At what has already been described as being better than the Games Village in Beijing, we will expose the athletes to our rich and diverse cultures.
If any athlete chooses to skip the Games, for whatever reason, he or she will be the one missing out on a wonderful Games. For the first time, the athletes will be able to witness the Opening and Closing Ceremonies from the stands and we know we are laying out a veritable treat for them. They will miss a chance to experience our hospitality in a great Games Village and the opportunity to perform in world class conditions.
Of course, barring some exceptions, the best athletes will turn up in Delhi. Let me reassure you that the Commonwealth Games Federation and its President Mr. Mike Fennell are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the best athletes compete in Delhi 2010.
There have been some reports quoting champion sprinter Usain Bolt’s manager and publicist that he may not come to Delhi. All I will say is that at the moment, Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi only knows that the number of athletes from each of the 71 members of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Since the last date for entries by name is September 3, we will know for sure which athletes are coming. I will also point out that Bolt’s fellow Jamaicans Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake are in the same league as him as was seen in the Paris Diamond League event when very little separated them.
Yet, the websites of these Commonwealth Games Associations tell us that some fabulous athletes have been named for their sides. Let me introduce you to some of these athletes. Australian swimming medley queen Stephanie Rice won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and is a world record holder. England’s Rebecca Adlington won two swimmer gold medals in Beijing. Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker is a world champion.
That is not all. English road cyclist Bradley Wiggins has three Olympic gold medals and five world championship titles. England’s squash players, Nick Matthew and Jenny Duncalf are ranked first and second respectively in the world. Pistol shooter Michael Gault, who has 15 medals in Commonwealth Games, will aim to become the most decorated athlete by winning four more medals in Delhi.
Besides all this, the fact that the International Hockey Federation has allotted the 2011 FIH Champions Trophy tournament to India is a clear indication of the success of the test event for the Commonwealth Games – the FIH World Cup 2010 -- and the fact that India did a great job of hosting the event.
To return to talking about the rain in the past week, it did cause some setback but we are seeing it as part of the test events, allowing the venue owners time to carry out the corrections before they handthe venues to us on August 1. I am sure there will be no more delays as we need to get cracking with the overlays work. As we get closer to the D-day, our confidence that we can deliver the best ever Commonwealth Games grows. We know we will.
(This article first appeared in Hindustan Times on July 23, 2010).