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India admits 2010 Games problems

Commonwealth games site

India needs to take immediate steps to ensure that it is in a position to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a top sports official has said.

The Indian Olympics Association secretary general, Randhir Singh, said some of the concerns raised over the progress of preparations were valid.

His comments follow a warning from the Commonwealth Games chief that Indian plans were severely behind schedule.

There are also concerns over security arrangements and housing for guests.

In a letter to the local organising committee, Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennell is reported to have warned that India's preparations were behind schedule.

He said it was "reasonable to conclude that the current situation poses a serious risk to the Commonwealth Games in 2010".

The Games are due to be held in the Indian capital, Delhi, from 3-14 October next year.

Behind schedule

A federal government report a few months ago found that work on 13 out of the 19 sports venues was running behind schedule.

Commonwealth games site
India says venues will be ready on time despite delays.

Mr Singh told the BBC that some of Mr Fennell's concerns were valid and "things had to be worked out".

However, he said the infrastructure would be ready on time despite the delays.

"There is not a lot to be fixed, but we have to get it activated," Mr Singh said.

Earlier, he told The Indian Express newspaper that Games authorities needed to "wake up, decentralise, ensure our concerned departments and stakeholders come together. Knowing the capabilities that we have, there is no reason why we can't deliver".

Mr Singh said there were 23 committees looking into various organisational aspects of the Games, but "the chairmen of those committees hardly meet".

"So first, we have to ensure they come together more often. We also need to give these committees more powers so that they don't have to run to the chairman of the organising committee for every small thing," he said.

"At the moment, these committees only have an advisory role - but they must have the power to take decisions."

Mr Singh said there would be "no problems" with security at the games.

"We just have to reassure the Commonwealth Games Federation that we can host the best games ever," he said.

Preparations for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi have long been plagued by controversy.

There were also doubts about the future of the venue of the Games village for 8,500 athletes after environmentalists went to court protesting against its location next to the River Yamuna.

But the Supreme Court threw the case out and allowed work on the village to continue.



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