Sports

India Not Prepared to Bid for 2020 Olympics

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By Tom Degun

December 17 - Mike Fennell, the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), has told insidethegames that he feels an Indian bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is too premature.

The New Delhi Commonwealth Games earlier this year were the largest international multi-sport event to be staged in India since the Asian Games in 1982.

Despite prior concerns over health, safety and security, the competition was considered a success although senior members of the Organising Committee, including secretary general Lalit Bhanot and director general V K Verma, the closest aides to unpopular chairman of the event Suresh Kalmadi, have since been alleged to have been involved in high level corruption leading up to the Games.

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The relative success of Delhi has led to calls for the Indian capital to bid for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics as early as 2020 but Fennell, who also serves as President of the Jamaican Olympic Association and has been on a number of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Co-ordination Commissions, suggested that would be too soon.

"I would think that 2020 is a bit to close," said Fennell.

"India still has a lot of work to do and certainly you want them to clear the dust from the current enquires [into the alleged corruption of members of the Organising Committee].

"They need to have a look at what they can do to start planning seriously for hosting future events.

"But they now have the key sporting venues in place and they have demonstrated their organisational capabilities in terms of transport and security and so on.

"It you look at security for example, the first question everyone was asking me before the Games was: 'What about the security in Delhi?'

"Nobody is asking me about that now because Delhi did a fantastic job with not one single incident to speak of.

"They have dispelled that theory and they have also dramatically improved the infrastructure in Delhi, particularly the transport, from hosting the event.

"So they have proved that they are indeed capable of hosting big events.

"They now need to just keep progressing at a steady rate and to be patient as hosting an event such as the Olympics takes some time."

The CGF President added that in hindsight, his organisation has concluded that the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games was a big success despite some of the well-documented problems.

"Reflecting back on Delhi, we must not hesitate to say how well the Games went and how well the Games ended," he said.

"We are all extremely satisfied with the end result and with what was delivered.

"Nevertheless, we would be less than frank if we didn't say there were considerable problems and concerns leading up to the Games, some of which could be avoided and which were unique to Delhi.

"They had big problems with cleaning the Village, which did annoy us after we bought it up with them on several occasions, and they also had some problems with the construction of venues that we were concerned about.

"But to their credit; they overcame those problems to stage a superb event."

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