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Commonwealth Games move ruled out

By Matt Slater

Delhi 2010's mascot Shera
The 2010 Games will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in India

The head of the Commonwealth Games has rejected any suggestion the 2010 event will be switched from Delhi as a result of fears about security in the region.

Tuesday's terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan has prompted further questions about Delhi's ability to stage the Games.

But Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) boss Michael Hooper said Delhi would do whatever is required to ensure safety.

"There is no plan B, the Games will be here, that's the reality," he said.

"The Games are 20 months away and no other city, no matter how good its infrastructure, could manage to stage an event of this magnitude in the time now available.

"There has never been any discussion whatsoever about shifting the Games. The Games will be in Delhi in 2010."

Hooper's comments follow calls from the Australian media to either cancel the 2010 Commonwealth Games or switch them to Melbourne, which hosted the event in 2006.

I hope the 2010 Games will not take place in a state of lockdown

Michael Hooper
Commonwealth Games Federation
Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser was quoted widely on Wednesday warning against a repeat of the infamous scenes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, where 11 members of the Israeli team and a German police officer were killed by Palestinian militants.

But concerns over Delhi's security plans were growing even before this week's atrocity in Lahore. A series of bombings in Delhi killed 21 people last September but worse was to come two months later in Mumbai, where co-ordinated attacks by Islamic militants left more than 170 people dead.

Only last week a parliamentary committee warned the Indian Government that the security arrangements for Delhi 2010 were inadequate.

The Standing Committee on Home Affairs said "urgent measures" were required to make sure the event, which runs from 3-14 October, passes off safely.

The government's revised plans for the Games include hiring an additional 5,000 police in Delhi and handing responsibility for security on the city's metro system to the Central Industrial Security Force, a paramilitary unit.

These measures were presented to Hooper and CGF president Michael Fennell in Delhi on Monday, the day before the attack in Lahore, and then discussed at length by Delhi 2010's executive board, of which Hooper and Fennell are members, on Tuesday.

At those meetings Hooper was given assurances that the Games' organisers would implement a range of recommendations made by Intelligent Risk, the Australian-based company that advises the CGF on security matters. The company visited Delhi last month and is scheduled to visit eight more times between now and next October.

Delhi 2010
As well as security concerns, Delhi is also behind schedule on infrastructure
Speaking to the Reuters press agency, organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said Delhi 2010 would adopt similar security measures to those used by the Chinese authorities at the Beijing Olympics.

There a large military presence, airport-style security at venues and the widespread use of CCTV combined to create a secure but slightly sterile atmosphere.

"We have received commitments that a safe environment will be provided for the athletes to compete in, as they were for Manchester (the 2002 hosts) and Melbourne before," said Hooper, who has been on site in Delhi since late 2007.

"What will be the security envelope at Games time? It will be whatever is necessary to provide that safe environment, and our people will be working very closely with the authorities here to make sure that happens.

"We don't know for sure what will be happening next October. But I certainly hope the 2010 Games will not take place in a state of lockdown."

Hooper stressed that with the Games still 20 months away it would be unwise to draw any conclusions now about the precise details of the security plan but admitted that any guarantees of safety would be hollow promises.

"I think guarantee would be a silly word to be throwing about," he said. "I don't think anybody can provide guarantees, anywhere in the world."

The 2010 Commonwealth Games is scheduled to bring together over 4,000 athletes from more than 80 nations. Among those athletes should be some of the biggest stars from the Beijing Olympics - the likes of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice and British cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy.

Delhi won the right to stage the event in 2003 after several failed bids. It will be only the second Asian city to host the event after Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Glasgow has been awarded the 2014 Games.

see also
Pakistan cricket future in doubt
04 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Mumbai rocked by deadly attacks
27 Nov 08 |  South Asia
Commonwealth Games 'in jeopardy'
12 Nov 08 |  South Asia
Pune Games prompt Delhi concerns
23 Oct 08 |  Other sport...
Suspects quizzed over Delhi bombs
14 Sep 08 |  South Asia
Bombings rock Indian tourist city
13 May 08 |  South Asia
Delhi will bid for 2020 Olympics
28 Apr 07 |  Other sport...
Delhi wants Games to provide legacy
07 Feb 07 |  South Asia
Delhi looks to 2010
27 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
India hails Commonwealth bid
14 Nov 03 |  South Asia

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