Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Swimming, atheletics venue may skip trial runs

New Zealand's Commonwealth Games boss Mike Stanley believes Delhi will provide a "useable" venue as fears mount over construction delays for October's games.

New Zealand Olympic Committee officials and representatives from competing sports are in Delhi this week for further inspections of venues and arrangements in the Indian capital.

Their visit comes as Mike Hooper, chief executive officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation, told Reuters there was the potential for embarrassment.

The main stadium remains months overdue while the swimming pool and other venues have also had delays.

The October 3 start is approaching rapidly and it appears some of the venues could host the games without trial runs to iron out potential problems.

"I am not wanting to sound alarmist, but the reality is there is a lot more to be done, a lot of finishing work to be done," Hooper said.

"The Games will happen, swimming will happen, athletics will happen. But it comes down to the level and standards of completion, I suppose."

Stanley, the NZOC president, was waiting for first hand accounts from his staff on the ground in Delhi but didn't dispute Hooper's views.

"I imagine the report is accurate and is consistent with what we are being told and have been told since March," Stanley said.

"We have come to expect that there will be delays on the facilities.

"We remain confident that they will be in a useable state although some of the completion details may be not quite there. But they will be available for the games programme and we have to plan that way.

"So yes, it's going to be a race against time but we should remember Athens (the 2000 Olympics venue) was looking like that and they got there."

Stanley said there was considerable pressure from within India and by the Commonwealth Games Federation to step up the construction pace.

India is hoping the Commonwealth Games can showcase its growing economic power. But new infrastructure like roading and power are also facing delays. They believe as many as two million tourists could be in New Delhi during the games that will feature around 10,000 athletes and officials.


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