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Commonweatlh Games In Turmoil


NEW DELHI (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with top government officials in an emergency strategy session over preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and stave off mounting criticism about the planning for the event.

The games, like the Olympics, are held every four years and features athletic competition by athletes from the 51 different nations that make up the Commonwealth of Nations, formerly known as the British Commonwealth. The 2010 games are set to take place in October in New Delhi, however, a lack of preparedness and other concerns have raised last minute questions about the viability of the games.

Preparation for the games has been slow, plagued by construction delays and accidents, heavy rains and even an outbreak of dengue fever. Several prominent athletes have pulled out of the event and a number of nations, including Scotland and Canada have delayed sending athletes until they receive assurance that facilities are completed and safe.

Others have expressed concerns about security at the event. 14 major terrorist attacks have occurred in New Delhi since 2000 and the Australian government says they believe there exists a "high risk" that another event will occur.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell led a delegation to New Delhi to inspect said facilities and other preparations for the games and apparently did not like what he found. Michael Hooper, chief executive of the federation later described the athlete accommodations as "filthy" and "uninhabitable", however the Indian federal government has reportedly stepped in with an army of engineers and laborers to try to complete and clean the athlete village and other facilities and since made significant progress.

"I think there's a lot of pressure being brought to bear, and things will be OK," Ian Emmerson, who is the senior vice president for Europe on the Federation's executive board, told the WSJ. "I think the only problem at the moment is that they've just run out of time. They'll need to fix it, but they've got the labor to do it."

Concerns about staging the games in New Delhi are not new. According to the Journal, Mr. Fennell, president of the CFG had sent a letter to the Delhi host committee for the games, stating that 'urgent action' was required to avoid catastrophe for the event and arranged to meet with Prime Minister Singh to express his concern.

"The CGF is extremely worried about the organizing committee's ability to deliver the Games to any comparable standard to that of the last two editions of the Games in Manchester (2002) and Melbourne (2006)." Fennell wrote in the letter.

"Our concerns are such that unless there is significant change in the management culture and operation of the organizing committee, these Games will fail from an operational perspective," he added. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers