By Ben Efe
Embattled Indian officials are battling hard, to convince the Commonwealth nations that all is well with the New Delhi 2010 Games billed to start October 3.
With bridges and roofs collapsing, security fears mounting and environmental concern spreading, Indians are optimistic that the Games will go on ahead as scheduled. This is just as Commonwealth Games Federation president, Mike Fennell will hold crucial talks today with Indian Prime Minister, Monmohan Singh to iron out the thorny issues.
Already England, Scotland, Wales, Australia and New Zealand have listed their intent to pull out of the Games if conditions did not improve in the next 48 hours. Athletes are expected to start arriving this weekend.
“It’s a situation that hangs on a knife_edge. We will not be sending our team unless we are confident,” said England Commonwealth Games chairman Andrew Foster.
New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit tried to play down the fiasco.
“There are some problems. But they are not insurmountable. To make out that the whole thing is collapsing __ I am sorry, we do not agree with that,” she said.
New Delhi is expecting to host some 7,000 athletes and officials from countries and territories mostly from the former British empire for the multi_sport event.“I can reassure everyone that the athletes will enjoy their stay in New Delhi.
“The stadiums are world class and so is the games village. We will be ready by the time they start arriving,” said local organising committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot