CWG has two seconds to midnight to correct things: New Zealand (Lead)September 21st, 2010 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS
Auckland, Sep 21 (IANS) Organisers of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi have got only “two seconds to midnight” to put up a show, and even run the risk of the Games being called off, New Zealand team’s chef de mission Dave Currie said Tuesday.
The unprepared state of the athletes village has stunned foreign delegates in the Indian capital and there was a mountain to climb to have it ready for its official opening Friday, when the first athletes are scheduled to arrive, Currie said.
Currie has accepted an offer from the Games Organising Committee to shift from their allocated accommodation - which he described as “substandard” - to another tower in the village premises.
Some 7,000 participants and officials from 71 countries and territories are expected to attend the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games, India’s biggest sporting event after the 1982 Asian Games.
Currie Tuesday said the prospects of the Games being cancelled were now very real.
“That’s not a decision that we’ll make (alone) but there are some realities. If the village is not ready and athletes can’t come, obviously the implications of that are that it’s not going to happen,” he was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.
“I think they (Commonwealth Games Federation) are in severe difficulties. In the time frame that is left, unless there is tremendous effort and energy and problem-solving ability to get it done, I think it’s going to be extremely hard to get across the line.
“They’ve got a little bit of time but it’s kind of two seconds to midnight really.”
Currie said the half-built nature of New Zealand’s proposed accommodation was “extraordinarily disappointing” to his delegation when they arrived in Delhi last week.
There was a large amount of post-construction cleanup to be completed, along with issues surrounding cleanliness, plumbing, wiring, internet and mobile phones.
“It’s pretty grim really and certainly disappointing when you consider the amount of time they’ve had to get the village ready for athletes to arrive,” he said, noting there was still remedial work to be carried out on their new area.
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennell Tuesday described the village as “seriously compromised”.
“Final preparations for the Commonwealth Games Village have been of concern to the CGF since viewing the residential zone along with a number of Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) advance parties on September 15th,” Fennell said.
Fennell said problems arose due to constant pushing out of building deadlines. Now increased security around the site was slowing the building process.
New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) president Mike Stanley and secretary-general Barry Maister left for New Delhi Tuesday.
Stanley said New Zealand was working with five other nations - England, Scotland, Wales, Canada and Australia - in assessing preparations for the Games. He said the group had voiced their concerns “at the highest possible level”.
“What they are frustrated by is not enough action, not enough quick action, to see that, between the time we have now and the athletes coming into the village, or even the opening of the Games, things are going to be ready,” he said.
Stanley did not want to speculate on how big a risk there was that the Games might not be able to proceed on time.
“There has always been a chance that something could happen to the Games,” he said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Tuesday said the country would be unlikely to go against other nations like Britain and Australia in deciding whether to pull out of the Games.
On being asked about the issues brought to light, Key said: “They are not unique to New Zealand or their accommodation at the Games village. It’s all the countries that face the concerns that were expressed overnight. But at the end of the day I’m sure it will be some collective wisdom that is applied here.”
“I would have thought it would be unlikely that New Zealand would make a call that other countries weren’t prepared to make,” he said.
- CWG may be called off: New Zealand chef de mission - Sep 21, 2010
- No point in sending athletes for Commonwealth Games: New Zealand PM - Sep 21, 2010
- CGF 'shocked' by Games Village; seeks Indian government intervention (Lead) - Sep 21, 2010
- Kiwi Commonwealth support staff moves into Delhi Games Village - Sep 27, 2010
- As athletes begin arriving, CWG finally on track (Night Lead) - Sep 24, 2010
- Commonwealth Games finally on track, athletes begin arriving (Evening Lead) - Sep 24, 2010
- CWG mess: Manmohan intervenes after delegates fume (Roundup) - Sep 21, 2010
- Kiwi Commonwealth Games athletes to delay arrival in New Delhi - Sep 23, 2010
- New Zealand unlikely to pull out off Delhi Commonwealth Games alone: John Key - Sep 21, 2010
- CWG Federation General Assembly commends OC's efforts ahead of opening ceremony - Oct 02, 2010
- Games Federation pats Organising Committee - Oct 02, 2010
- Fennell's 24-hour deadline to set Games Village in order - Sep 21, 2010
- CWG on track - amid criticism and cyclists pulling out (Afternoon Lead) - Sep 24, 2010
- Delhi Commonwealth Games village seriously compromised, says Fennell - Sep 21, 2010
- CWG mess: Fennel may seek Manmohan Singh's intervention - Sep 23, 2010
Tags: accommodation, asian games, athletes village, chef de mission, commonwealth games federation, construction cleanup, currie, delegates, delegation, little bit, mobile phones, new zealand herald, organisers, plumbing, post construction, premises, prospects, realities, surrounding cleanliness, time frame