The Games are on course: CWG chief Mike Hooper

By Pragya Tiwari,IANS,

New Delhi : Commonwealth Games Chief Executive Officer Mike Hooper Friday dispelled worries over the completion of venues for the Oct 3-14 event, saying India will be ready in time, things were improving and security was in place.

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A confident Hooper said India is left with no choice but to complete the task it has taken up and it will.

“Look, there is no denying that we voiced our concerns repeatedly over preparations for the Games. If you remember, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennell in December termed the delays in the completion of stadiums ‘distressing’. By early this year he said there are ‘some concerns’ and last week he was satisfied with the progress. So things are improving for sure,” Hooper told IANS in an interview.

“The Games are going to take place from Oct 3-14 in India and there is no way the date or the venue is shifting. The deadlines have been revised several times and we have reached the stage when things are really tight. If that means, working 24 hours a day, so be it and the Organising Committee understands it.”

Hooper said the success of the various testing events of different disciplines, including the Hockey World Cup, shows that things are right on track.

“We have had test events in shooting, boxing, archery and Hockey World Cup and things are more or less ready at these venues. Whatever shortcoming are there we are working on them and that is precisely why we hold these pre-Games events to test the facilities,” Hooper said on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Rugby Sevens event.

“The Hockey World Cup was a big success, even though it was an International Hockey Federation (FIH) event. I happened to see the preliminary FIH report after the event, pointing out some operational problems. We will work on them and that’s how a mega event like the Commonwealth Games is organised.

The New Zealander, however, refused to hold the Organising Committee (OC) alone responsible for the organisational delays.

“See, what can the OC alone do. There are various agencies like the DDA, SAI, CPWD which are involved in infrastructure building and they need to buck up,” he said.

“But things are looking up and the Games will be wonderful for the sports in India as well and they will also improve the connectivity in the capital tremendously.

“The new roads are being built and transport in the National Capital Territory is going to get a huge boost. I have been living in Delhi for close to two and half years and I have struggled in the traffic here. But things are already so much better now,” he said.

Hooper said India is absolutely safe to hold the Games and that even Pune blast last month failed to cast a shadow on the successful conduct of the quadrennial event.

“Security is in place. When the chefs de mission of 71 participating countries met here they were fully satisfied with the security cover. Even after the Pune blast, there were no second thoughts. It is just that we have to assess the security situation at a given moment and work accordingly,” Hooper said.

“The CGF has its own agency looking after the security and it will be visiting India thrice before the Games.

“We talk of security being tight not to mislead anyone, we truly believe it is no longer an issue and there is no danger to life here.”