Fact Finding Mission To Delhi Puts Scotland On Track

May 8, 2009
The General Team Management (GTM) for the 2010 Commonwealth Games visited the host city Delhi last week (19-24 April) to see for themselves how plans for the Games are taking shape.
They met with key members of the Organising Committee (OC) and listened to presentations on all key function areas of the Games including: sport and venues, transport, security, accreditation and ticketing, IT, media and catering. There was also an extensive tour of the village and sports venues.

The plans for the village, which stands in a 59.28 hectare site close to the river, look excellent and building is well underway. The accommodation blocks, which are a maximum of nine stories high, will be finished to a high specification, air conditioned and with two athletes per room each with an en-suite bathroom. There are also plans for extensive recreation facilities and a 50m training pool will also be on site. It is being billed by the OC as the “best Commonwealth Games Village ever”.

Virtually all the sports facilities are still under construction, either new build or undergoing major refurbishment with much work still to be done. However the OC are confident that they will all be completed by March next year.

There was particularly good news for the delegation and Scotland’s cyclists, when a visit to the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex and site for the new velodrome showed that work is now underway. This follows months of speculation as to whether it would be built in time, or if track cycling would be dropped from the sports programme.

This would have excluded Britain’s greatest Olympian, the talismanic and charismatic Chris Hoy, a demoralising blow to the whole team. Not only would this have denied Scotland half a dozen strong cycling medal shots next year, but would have removed a major stepping stone for Scots with London 2012 track cycling aspirations, and damaged the continuum for Glasgow 2014.

However, site of the velodrome rising from the dusty ground was backed up further with confirmation that UCI approved track designers have now been appointed and Britain’s triple gold medallist from Beijing was overjoyed to hear the news. “It’s a relief to hear that track appears to be in the Games after so many mixed reports”, said Hoy.

“It’s good for the Games and for Scotland. Track cycling is an important sport and the level of competition is so high in the Commonwealth. Australia has just come out top in the World Championships, Malaysia had two medallists, and New Zealand is going well.

“And it is my only chance, once in four years, to compete for Scotland, and that means a great deal to me. I have said I want to continue until 2014 but that’s a long time until my last chance to compete for my country, and it’s a dream still to come”.

Also joining the Delhi visit were representatives from the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Culture & Sport Glasgow and Glasgow 2014. They were there with a range of interests and in particular, to consider how Glasgow takes forward its plans for a 10 minute cultural slot in the Closing Ceremony that will see the responsibility for the 20th Commonwealth Games handed over to Glasgow for 2014.

Commenting on what he saw in Delhi, Jon Doig CGS CEO and Chef de Mission for the team in 2010 said: “Our visit has been extremely useful for both the GTM and our partners to understand the environment we will be working in and where Delhi is at in the planning process.

We have seen some progress since our last visit and the OC has been very receptive to our ideas and suggestions. However there is a considerable amount of work to be done across all areas and there is no margin for error in the short timescale left before the Games”.

“We have major concerns particularly on the operations side. There have been delays in the sports programme, in appointing competition managers. They’re all supposed to be appointed by June 1, and we believe this is critical to the Games success.

Our preparations and those of our sports need to be better than ever before and if we do this and other countries don’t there are real opportunities for us in terms of medal prospects”.

A series of forthcoming visits mean the Delhi organising committee must now tick boxes to a tight schedule. The Co-ordination Commission and the Commonwealth Games Federation General Executive will visit in May, and the CGF Assembly – with all Commonwealth countries attending – in October, followed by a Chef de Missions visit in March 2010.

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