India should aim for Olympics: Oz Sports Min

India has surpassed hopes and expectations with the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and should aim for hosting the Olympics, Australian Sports Minister Mark Arbib on Tuesday said.

Last Updated: Oct 05, 2010, 15:35 PM IST

New Delhi: India has surpassed hopes and
expectations with the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and
should aim for hosting the Olympics, Australian Sports
Minister Mark Arbib on Tuesday said.

"I like Indian culture so I had high hopes. But, they
surpassed my hopes and expectations. It was riveting. So
congratulations," Arbib said in an interview.

The young Sports Minister said the opening ceremony
was beautiful, colourful and creative.

"At the same time it was a wonderful display of Indian
culture. For Australians, every Australian I spoke to, it was
wonderful. So people responsible for organising should be
congratulated," he said.

Asked if he though Indian was capable of hosting
Olympics, Arbib said, "I am not an expert in terms of whether
a country is up to it or not. But they were comments by
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, I
think he said India should bid. That is a positive sign for
India. And there is no reason why the Games should not come to
India in future."

The Minister, however, threw in a word of caution and
said a decade worth of work goes into it.

"It is a big big event. Having seen it in Sydney, a
great deal of preparation, a decade worth of work goes into
it. It is something that you, no doubt, should aim for."

On the large number of negative comments emanating
from Australian shores in the run up to the Games about
India`s preparedness and security among others, Arbib said
there was nothing unusual about it and such things happen
before any big sporting event.

"Before any major sporting events... I come from
Sydney, before the Sydney Olympics, they were saying Sydney
Olympics was going to be a disaster. They were talking about
transport problems, logistics problem. In the end you can only
judge the success of the Games when they are underway. "
He said the athletes and officials were very happy
with the arrangements and thanked the Organisers especially
the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

"There is no doubt that in the last two weeks lot of
work was done, the Village in particular to get it up from
scratch. We got good cooperation from the Indian authorities
and obviously the Chief Minister, the Delhi government has put
a lot of effort into that and we appreciate that."

Asked about the security arrangements, Arbib said, "It
was first class".

"We have visited a number of locations. The Village,
the main stadium, bowling, the swimming, the security of all
those from my perspective has been first class. Not just in
terms of large contingent of security personnel but also in
terms of they deal with people very professional. At the same
time they are very cooperative and helpful. We are pleased."
Arbib also had a word of praise for the volunteers,
who, he said, were the real stars of the Games as they were
very helpful and cooperative.

PTI