Thursday, May 6, 2010

Games Panel Satisfied with Current Preparation Level

It may have been the last visit by a full coordination commission, but it doesn’t mean the end of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) close monitoring of the Games preparations by Kalmadi and team.

The three-day trip by the commission ended on Wednesday with CoCom chairperson Austin Sealy claiming to have seen a lot of ‘‘important achievements’’ and ‘‘congratulating the OC for already achieving revenues set by the Melbourne Games in 2006’’. Buried beneath the bonhomie, however, was the fact that the Co-Com will continue keeping a close watch this time, in smaller teams? The continuing delay in the delivery of the main venue, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, as well as the need to have a ‘‘cohesive operational and decision making system’’ within the organizing committee may have been the reason.

The final report by the Co-Com in fact, is mixed. While on one hand, the CGF appointed commission was effusive about the sponsorship deals in the offing for the Delhi Games and even praised the OC for work in the areas of technology, volunteer programme, ticketing, and infrastructure put in by the Delhi government for transport, water and power, the Co-Com was vocal about their ‘‘concern’’ in continuing delay in delivery of key venues. Admitted Sealy, ‘‘These delays have a knock-on effect and hamper the organizing committee’s planning and implementation for final overlay, staff training, rehearsal, and simulation.’’

In fact, the delay prompted Sealy to add, ‘‘It is imperative that everything be done to accelerate works.’’ It wasn’t just the constructing agencies, however, that feature in the Co-Com’s list of concern. Advocating an integrated and cohesive operational system, the Co-Com also advised the OC to establish clear lines of communication, decision making authority and responsibilities at Games time, as it ‘‘remains a challenge’’ at present. OC head Suresh Kalmadi preferred to downplay the Co-Com’s continued monitoring, claiming the smaller team was on the ‘‘request’’ of the OC for further guidance.

It wasn’t all bad news though. The commission lauded the OC for progressive improvement in the various test events that have taken place already. It also said that while security was a ‘‘key challenge’’, the CGF was working closely with the OC, police and the government, to monitor all Games security arrangements, and has assigned specialist consultants to work on its behalf.

The on-going face-off of Kalmadi with the sports minister also featured in the interaction, with Sealy hoping that ‘‘distractions’’ would not take the focus away from the Games. Of course, Kalmadi’s fishing for information at the interaction on how long both Sealy and CGF president, Michael Fennel’s tenure has been (25 and 30 years respectively), may have put paid to that particular hope.