Delhi’s Commonwealth Games – Will it be “alright on the night?”

Having just visited Beijing, I’m astounded with what they achieved as a result of the Olympics. In the same breath, I’m equally astounded with the manner in which the Indian Government has handled the preparations for the Commonwealth Games, which are due to open in the first week of October.

There’s been public outrage in Delhi with politicians being accused of corrupt practices, bad administration, and ultimately with squandering the great image it’s built up globally on the back of her economic prowess.

I’m told that Delhi still resembles a construction site, with massive traffic problems, and air pollution that’d make you want to be elsewhere, no surprise that some of the world’s biggest athletes, like Usain Bolt, have decided to stay away.

Indians are trying to salvage the situation, but I fear the damage has already been done. Suresh Kalmadi, the main organizer is reported to have said that “it’ll be alright on the night”. But really, is this the attitude to take when you’ve used hundreds of millions to deliver an event that we’ll most probably want to forget. Wouldn’t it have been better just to commit the money to tackling poverty, which blights India so badly?

If you look at this politically, cast your minds to the building of our Millennium Dome, in which Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson came under major criticism for what as described as a ‘white elephant’. Despite the monetary figure being so much lesser than what’s being spent on these Games in Delhi, they nearly lost their jobs.

If political conventions straddled continents, I’m sure Manmohan Singh’s head would ultimately roll, but as we’re taking about India, I can’t think of a more appropriate phrase than that devised by her tourism department for promote India – the Commonwealth Games are taking definitely taking place in“Incredible India’.

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