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India Says It is Ready for 2010 Commonwealth Games  


Indian officials are expressing confidence the country will successfully host an international sports event scheduled for next year after the Commonwealth Games Federation warned the event could collapse due to lack of preparation. The Commonwealth Games will be the most high-profile sporting event to be staged in India since 1982.

The warning bells about India's ability to "deliver" the 2010 Commonwealth Games have been sounded by Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell. The event is to be held in New Delhi in October next year.

In a letter to the local organizing committee, Fennel said that the current situation and delays in preparing for the Games poses a "serious risk" to the event. He has sought an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to brief him about "lack of preparations".

The letter expressed worry whether the event in India will match the standards set by the last two cities to host them - Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006.

Indian officials have been quick in efforts to dispel fear that India is lagging in preparations to host the event.

The Commonwealth Games are the biggest multi-sport event to be staged in India since the Asian games in 1982. About 71 countries and territories, which were part of the former British Empire, will participate in the event.

Organizing committee leader Suresh Kalmadi expressed confidence that "we will have a great Commonwealth Games."

"You should all have no doubt that the venues will be ready on time, all the infrastructures will be ready on the dates promised, that is December and February," said Kalmadi.

But despite that assurance, officials admit India will have to race against time to successfully host the Games, because much of the work is behind schedule. A government report has said work on 14 of the 19 sports venues, that are to be built for the Games, is running late. So are nine transport projects meant to improve the city's infrastructure.

New Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit says they are a little nervous, but she is optimistic the city will successfully host the Games.

Dikshit says anyone who comes to criticize has the right to do so, but this is a matter of pride for the country, and we will be ready in time.

Other officials point to the several alarms sounded about preparations before the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, which were staged successfully.

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