India urged to speed up Commonwealth Games work

NEW DELHI: India needs to speed up work if next year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi are to be a success, the head of the Games' co-ordination commission said on Wednesday.

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) treasurer Austin Sealy said India had made "noticeable" progress towards the October 3-14 Games, but a lot remained to be done.

"There has been noticeable progress over the last two months, but with effectively only nine months remaining, the intensity must continue, and in fact, works must be further accelerated," Sealy said in a statement.

Sealy added the commission was concerned that the timetable for the completion of venues had been extended by at least three months, with some venues unlikely to be finished by June.

"We urge the construction agencies to ensure that no further delays are encountered as this will place the organising committee in a difficult position and compromise final preparations and Games readiness," Sealy said.

The co-ordination commission, which includes sports officials from Australia, Wales, South Africa, Canada and Kenya, spent the last three days in New Delhi evaluating the preparations.

The commission will submit its findings to CGF president Michael Fennell, who is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Friday to meet the organising committee.

Sealy said the organisers, headed by Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, were committed to holding a successful Games.

"We received detailed reports from the organising committee across key areas where we had previously identified delivery risks," he said.

"These reports show an increased awareness of the work that must be undertaken. There was a sense of energy and urgency from the entire Delhi team about getting on with the job.

"That is a positive, and it is clear that everyone is committed to making these Games a success."

The CGF general assembly had in October warned India it faced "an enormous challenge" to be ready for the Games, which involve 6,000 international athletes competing in 17 sports.

The federation highlighted problems ranging from ticketing, accommodation and transport to accreditation and logistics, besides the construction of venues.

The Commonwealth Games, the biggest multi-sport event to be staged in India since the Asian Games in 1982, will feature 71 nations and territories, mainly from the former British Empire.