Commonwealth Games: Why the fuss over arrangements?

Maswood Alam Khan
“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success” is a phrase I wish Australia’s Olympic Committee president John Coates had learnt before he said ‘the Commonwealth Games should not have been awarded to Delhi’.

Some pictures published in different newspapers and some irresponsible comments made by a handful of sports critics and a few blame games being played out in social networks like in Facebook are magnifying molehills of errors in New Delhi in organizing the 2010 Commonwealth Games into mountains of blunders and thereby influencing some mentally fragile athletes like England diver Peter Waterfield to pull out from the event on flimsy excuses such as “if a mosquito bites a baby” or “if a roof falls on a head” or “if a wife slips on the floor of a toilet”.

It seems people in the developed countries are still envious of any effort a developing country undertakes to be developed. Hearts of the same people had also perhaps been burnt by the event of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games when brilliant fireworks burst making the entire National Stadium in Beijing look like a flower blossoming on the opening day and dancers greeted guests on the closing day with more than 2000 performers beating ancient Chinese drums chanting “Friends have come from afar, how happy we are,” a famous Confucian saying.

“China, a developing country, is going to host a world event like Olympic”– such an idea was inconceivable to many skeptics in the West when Beijing was awarded the Games over four competitors in 2001. Beijing flawlessly hosted the major international multi-sport occasion where a total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events. Awed by the stupendous success of Beijing Olympics countries in the West are now trying to mimic what China did during any international event that may take place in their respective countries.

Critics, skeptics and cynical nihilists are saying that sports committees and member nations should think twice or more before casting their votes for cities from developing countries again to host international games as they are trying their level best to prove that the Commonwealth Games village in Delhi is simply unlivable.

There are photographs in circulation depicting elements that may dampen the spirits of athletes and visitors from visiting India on the occasion of the Commonwealth Games. One such photograph is of a dog defecating on a bed in the games village.

I don’t know whether it was a doctored photograph of a dog defecating. Even if the photograph was a real one, is it a matter to shout about? By an accident a dog or a cat could indulge in such an activity if a door of a room in the Olympic village was by a chance kept ajar. Does the photograph suggest that habitants in the village during the Games would find rats, cats and dogs vying for spaces on their beds?

Of course there have been some unexpected hiccups like construction delays, the collapse of a footbridge near the main stadium and security fears after last Sunday’s shooting of two tourists outside Delhi’s Jama Masjid mosque that have undoubtedly marred the event. But the incidents were nothing serious for athletes to feel unsafe while staying in Delhi.

Functionaries of the government of India in tandem with the Olympic organizers, in spite of their resource constraints, are sweating blood to ensure cent percent safety, security and comfort for the participants in the Commonwealth Games and Delhi has already recovered from its initial setbacks with a remarkable improvement in the preliminary works that were essential before the Games starts on September 03.

We hope the world community will not pay heed to the rumor-mongers who are trigger-happy to spread words bashing developing countries by presenting ignominious pictures and stories that are mostly doctored or mere accidental.

It hurts us when one of our neighbouring countries like India, Nepal or Pakistan is projected as unsafe and indecent. Of course such bashing has also prodded the developing countries in Asia to compete with renewed zeal and inspiration in achieving goals that at times causes heart-burning for many even in the developed countries.

People need to wake up to the fact that Bangladesh or India or Pakistan is not what America is and that China was also not what America was. More than 50,000 people sleep on the streets of Delhi every night but at the same time India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It’s a matter of time when many a developed country will find themselves in the back benches when many a developing country in Asia and Africa will excel in arenas — call it sports, science or economy. China is a glaring example!

Commonwealth Games should also be held in Bangladesh as we are a member nation and it is the responsibility of all the Commonwealth member nations to make sure that the Games is held in each and every member nation of the Commonwealth — in New Delhi in 2010 and in Dhaka perhaps in 2020 or 2024.

Shouldn’t Bangladesh take some lessons from the hiccups that are now tarnishing India’s image if we are at all eager to host an international sports event like Commonwealth Games in the near future or like Olympics in a distant future?



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