New Delhi: Athletes should not be apprehensive about security at the Commonwealth Games in October despite concerns raised by Australia, the head of the games organising federation said on Friday.
“Security remains a major concern wherever you host the Games, be it London or Manchester,” Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Mike Hooper told reporters.
“When India bid for the Games, the government gave an undertaking to provide a safe and secure environment if Delhi was picked as host. Seven years since then and there is nothing to suggest that they are backing off from the promise.”
Hooper spoke two days after Australian Sports Minister Kate Ellis said athletes’ safety was the prime concern for her government.
Australian media also quoted a risk management firm saying Delhi was lagging with security preparations.
Since an attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, Pakistan last year, there has been a high alert over sporting events in the region.
The 2009 Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament was shifted to South Africa at short notice on security grounds because it coincided with general elections following the attack in Pakistan.
Hooper added on Friday: “I honestly believe they would deliver on their promise. This country takes security seriously and they have made a massive investment to make the Games safe and secure.
As many as 105 delegates from 19 countries, including Australia, reviewed preparations in the second International Security Liaison Conference in Delhi on July 28 and 29.
In a subsequent news conference, Special Commissioner of Delhi Police Neeraj Kumar said delegates were convinced over safety.
“It was a successful conference where ideas were exchanged and we benefited from the feedback. We have assured them we are on the job and security will be foolproof.”
He ruled out any specific threat to the games.
Concerns over corruption, construction delays and a huge increase in costs have caused national angst over the games, which were intended to showcase India’s increasing global clout.