Commonwealth Games

Rogge: Give India a chance

2010-09-24 16:36
Jacques Rogge (File)
London - India's potential for hosting future Olympics should not be written off before giving embattled New Delhi organizers a chance to pull off the Commonwealth Games with a "last-ditch" effort, IOC president Jacques Rogge said in an interview on Friday.

Rogge told The Associated Press that he hopes India can come through, just as Greek organizers overcame "doomsday scenarios" to stage the successful 2004 Athens Olympics despite severe construction delays and political wrangling.

The International Olympic Committee leader will travel to New Delhi next week to attend the Oct. 3 opening of the Commonwealth Games, which were put at risk this week by filthy conditions at the athletes' village, a pedestrian bridge collapse and health and security concerns.

The chaotic preparations have seemingly doomed India's hopes of bidding for the 2020 Olympics, but Rogge said it was too early to rule the country out.

"I think I can hardly make a judgment before the games have even started," Rogge said. "Let's give them the chance to prove they can stage good games. It would be with a last-ditch effort and it probably would be costly, but let's hope they can fulfil that.

"Hopefully the Indians can pull out a last-ditch effort like the Greeks have done," he said.

The Commonwealth Games, an Olympic-style multi-sports event bringing together more than 7,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories, was meant to underline India's emergence as an Asian power on the world stage and serve as a platform for an Olympic bid.

"It's far too premature to discuss this," Rogge said. "This is something that has to be seen by the Indians themselves. There is no doubt they will make an analysis of the games. They will have to see if their original intentions can be kept or not."

Corruption scandals, delays in getting facilities ready and squalid conditions at the athletes' village have turned the event into an embarrassment for India - even raising the prospect of the games being called off or of teams refusing to attend.

The situation eased on Friday, however, as international games officials said conditions had improved and teams started arriving.

"It's difficult to have a view before the games have started," Rogge said. "There is always a difference between the reality and the anticipation and perception. We had doomsday scenarios in Athens, and these were absolutely very good games.

"The Greeks were able to pull out a very good effort. They were very, very good games at the last moment, so this could happen in Delhi."

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates told reporters in Sydney on Friday that India should never have been awarded the Commonwealth Games. He said the Commonwealth Games Federation lacked the resources to monitor the progress of games preparations in New Delhi and to ensure construction deadlines were met.

Rogge defended CGF leaders for their oversight of the games.

"They have issued warnings on a regular basis," he said. "(CGF President) Michael Fennell and (CEO) Mike Hooper are very experienced sports leaders. I don't know where the potential issues came from. Is it in the chain of command? You can only have a judgment on that after the games."

India's troubles have underlined the potential risks of taking major sporting events to developing countries.

The IOC voted last year to award the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, taking the games to South America for the first time.

Africa has never hosted the Olympics, but South Africa is now pushing forward with a 2020 bid after successfully staging the World Cup this year. Durban is the likely candidate. Cape Town finished third in the 1997 vote for the 2004 Olympics.

"I think South Africa has already proven to be able to stage major events like the FIFA World Cup and rugby and cricket world championship," Rogge said. "The Olympics would be of another magnitude of course. But I think South Africa proved a very good show in July."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Floyd 'Money' Mayweather v Conor 'The Notorious' McGregor ... who've you got in Saturday's mega fight?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.