TS Darbari, joint director- general of the organizing committee of the Commonwealth Games, reassured the athletes about security after bomb blasts injured at least 10 people outside an Indian Premier League cricket match in Bangalore on Saturday.
Darbari, who is leading an Indian delegation to Australia accompanying the baton relay, rejected suggestions that competitors’ family members and supporters would be at risk outside the protection perimeters surrounding the games venues.
“Delhi is very, very safe (and) secure, not only for the sports people who are coming but also for their families and for the tourists,” Darbari told the Australian Associated Press. Security precautions for the October 3-14 games were unprecedented, he said.
“I know what the plan is that is being formulated. I can’t share the details, but let me tell you it is foolproof,” he said.
DR Kaarthikeyan, former director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and a security adviser to the organizing committee, said security agencies had already thwarted potential terror attacks but kept the details confidential.
“So many are being rounded up, so many have been detected,” he said. “But then they will not be discussed in public. What have been prevented, what have been planned and the stage of plotting itself, that does not come out.”
Security around the games would be intense and highly visible, Kaarthikeyan said.
“They feel more assured when they see a lot of policemen around and gunmen around, because we cannot take chances,” he said.
Later, Australia’s Commonwealth Games chef de mission, Steve Moneghetti, who ran the last leg of the baton relay with Sydney 2000 Olympic 400m gold medalist Cathy Freeman, said the security situation in India was being closely watched.
“Obviously we’re monitoring it,” Moneghetti said. “It’s good we’re talking about it and aware of it. It’s high on everyone’s agenda. I was there a month ago and it was very safe and secure.”
Australian Commonwealth Games Association CE Perry Crosswhite said the Bangalore bombings had not changed Australia’s position.
“Certainly it (the weekend bombings) is not a good thing, but it doesn’t affect our current position,” Crosswhite said.
“Right now, we’re going to the games and, as we said all along, if athletes (or officials) don’t want to go … that’s their decision and it won’t be held against them.
“I’m very confident the athletes will be protected. The safest place will be the (athletes’) village in Delhi, the venues and the transport routes there and from.”
n Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt would run his first solo 100m of the season next month at the South Korean venue for next year’s world championships, organizers said yesterday.
The world and Olympic triple gold medalist will compete at the pre-championships meeting on May 19 in Daegu, the host city for the world championships in August-September next year.