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Sheila ‘prays’ for successful CG
Published on 21 Dec. 2009 12:22 AM IST
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Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said on Sunday she can only pray for a successful Commonwealth Games next year after admitting to delays in the construction of venues. “I only keep praying that we won’t let the country down,” Dikshit told the Press Trust of India as concerns mounted over the slow progress of work for the October 3-14 Games in the Indian capital. Dikshit’s remarks came after Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Mike Fennell said he was distressed by a report that two major venues won’t be ready till June next year, barely three months before the opening ceremony. The CGF’s co-ordination commission said last week that work on the Nehru stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletics programme will be held, and the swimming complex, was way behind schedule. “We have continuously received assurances on the delivery timelines for these projects, and to now hear that there are further delays is distressing,” Fennell said in a statement. “These delays will have an impact upon the organising committee’s operational planning, particularly in relation to the conduct of test events and overlay installation. There can be no further delays.” Dikshit, whose government is charged with building the infrastructure for the Games, admitted the construction was lagging, but was confident the work had picked up in recent months. “There will be areas of concern, but everybody is trying, everybody is on board, the funds are there. So we just need to see that it is implemented,” Dikshit told PTI. “(But) we will be ready. We have got eight months to go. Actually, nine months to go but I said eight months. And you can see work going on all over Delhi.” Dikshit said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had formed a group of ministers (GOM), which met almost every week to review the preparations. “We meet once a week or eight days,” she said. “We pool our experiences together. It is a good system we have set up. I only keep praying that we won’t let the country down.” The CGF general assembly in October warned India it faced “an enormous challenge” to be ready for the Games, which involve 6,000 international athletes competing in 17 sports. The federation highlighted problems ranging from ticketing, accommodation and transport to accreditation and logistics, besides the construction of venues. The Commonwealth Games, the biggest multi-sport event to be staged in India since the Asian Games in 1982, will feature 71 nations and territories, mainly from the former British Empire.

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