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Hooper clarifies anti-govt remarks
Published on 27 Sep. 2010 12:21 AM IST
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On a day when the biggest group of foreign athletes and officials arrived here Sunday for the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper criticised the Indian government for the delay in infrastructure projects - only to later take back his words.
The Games Village continued to haunt the organisers. Now, a snake was found in an apartment alloted to South Africa. Some 60 members of the Scottish team and 50 from the Welsh contingent moved into the Village, but said there are still a few things to be taken care of.
There was another hiccup on the organisational front as the security agencies could not complete the lockdown of all the venues and the Village with work still in progress at some of the sites.
There were two more pull outs with Australian Cyclist Travis Meyer and table tennis player Stephanie Sang withdrawing, citing security and health concerns.
On the brighter side, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Rs.700 million ($15 million) sports injuries centre in the Safdarjung Hospital which will cater to sportspersons during the Games, and Swimmers Ashley Callus of Australia and England’s Jenna Randall said they will definitely travel to New Delhi and the problems related to the Games have not had a negative impact on them.
The biggest delegations that arrived were from Kenya (112), Nigeria (69) and Scotland (60). The other arrivals were from countries like Canada, Tanzania, Lesotho, Norfolk Island, Rwanda, Wales, England, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Bermuda, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the British Virgin Islands, a press statement from the Organising Committee said.
The blame game continued with Hooper slamming the Indian government for the delay in readying the Games infrastructure and that CGF should not share the responsibility. Hooper, however, later retracted his statement given to TVNZ and thanked the Indian government for helping the organisers.
“I thank the Indian government for the help. I thank the Indian people for the massive investment they have made,” Hopper clarified after his remarks on TVNZ that CGF should not share the responsibility for the Games mess. “It is not a matter of a blame game.
There are significant changes in the Games Village. I never gave a clean chit to the Village and I stand by that. The facilities in the international zone are excellent,” said Hooper, who praised the Village during its soft launch Sep 16.
Hooper said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. “We see full co-operation from the government.”
Earlier, Hooper, who has been staying in the Indian capital for three years to oversee the Games preparations, said CGF cannot be blamed for the present state of affairs. Hooper’s statement is in sharp contrast to the remarks of CGF president Michael Fennell, who a day before said they share collective blame for the lapses.
“We’re at the hands and the mercy of, effectively, the government of India, the Delhi government, the agencies responsible for delivery of the venues. They consistently failed to meet deadlines,” TVNZ quoted Hooper.
The 35-bed sports injuries centre has three modular operation theatres with pre-operative and post-operative rooms and a two-bed ICU in the post-operative room.
High-end equipment like MRI, CT scan, bone densitometry, digital X-ray and colour doppler and laboratory services have been outsourced on a revenue sharing basis in the public-private-partnership mode.
The delay in the security lockdown of the venues and Village, which was to be completed Saturday midnight, continued.
“Work is still on at the Games main venue Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Games Village and some other venues. We have been told that the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be handed over to us by Sunday night and the Games Village by Monday,” a Delhi Police officer said.
Home Minister P.Chidambaram had Sep 23 asked the Games Organising Committee to complete all work at venues by Friday night and hand them over to the Delhi Police for the lockdown.
The police, however, operationalised exclusive lanes on important roads Sunday to facilitate Games-related traffic.
Commenting on the withdrawal of the Australian athletes, the country’s Commonwealth Games chief Perry Crosswhite said he was disappointed that it had happened just a week from the start of the event but respected the athletes’ decisions.
“I am disappointed on the basis that these Games will be a good experience particularly for all the athletes who come to it and of course we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think the security was not being organised well and at the level it should be,” Crosswhite said.
Australia’s athletes will begin arriving in Delhi from Monday morning.
Some 7,000 participants and officials from 71 teams are expected to attend the Commonwealth Games, India’s biggest sporting event since the 1982 Asian Games.

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