Games organisers get support from England CWG chief Holmes

Commonwealth Games England President Kelly Holmes has leapt to the defence of the Games in New Delhi, saying that it would be a success and Indians will feel "proud" despite the construction delays, security and health concerns.

Updated: Sep 22, 2010, 14:39 PM IST

London: Commonwealth Games England President Kelly Holmes has leapt to the defence of the scandal-marred Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next month, saying that it would be a success and Indians will feel "proud" despite the construction delays, security and health concerns.

The Games, starting on October 3, have faced multiple problems, including corruption, threats of terror attack and dengue fever, unhygienic conditions at Athletes` Village and collapse of a footbridge near the main venue.

Despite the ongoing problems, Holmes believes the Games can be a huge success, citing the 2004 Olympics – which overcame problems of its own to be a great triumph - as a marker.

"I compare it to the Athens Olympics when they were still planting trees on the day it opened. I don`t think it can get any worse than that," she was quoted as saying by `The Times`.
However, Holmes said he returned from her visit to Delhi last month largely unimpressed with the state of some of the venues.

"I was there on the prime ministerial visit and I`m not going to lie - it was a building site. Without the safety certificates for the venues it wasn`t going to go ahead but they came through last Monday," said Holmes who won two gold -- in 800m and 1500m race -- in Athens.

Although Holmes said he understands why some feel it is wrong to host the mega-event in a country where a third of the population live in poverty, she is hoping it will bring joy to the country.
"It`s a fair point with a nation where so many people are in unfortunate positions, but I really hope the Games brings a different energy and makes some people feel proud. I just hope the general public in India will be given the chance to go to the Games," she said.

England Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and CWG chef de mission Craig Hunter have also committed that the country would take part in the Games but the latter warned the organisers that time is running out for them to clean up the preparation mess.

PTI