Belfast Telegraph

It’s not our fault, Commonwealth Games chiefs still insisting

Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper insists his organisation should not shoulder the blame for the problems which have plagued the build-up to the event in Delhi.

Complaints have come from a number of teams about the poor state of the athletes' village, while preparations have also been hit by failures in the construction of venues.

Last Tuesday a bridge at the Jawaharlal Nehru complex, the centrepiece of the Games, collapsed leaving over 20 people injured. Then part of the ceiling at the weightlifting arena fell in on Wednesday.

Hooper claimed repeated requests from the CGF's co-ordination commission earlier in the year to speed up construction did not get a positive response.

“When we viewed (the Games village) in March it was clear it was a massive work in progress and a lot of work had to be done,” he said.

“We kept getting shown the various model units that had been done and assured ‘Yes, we realise we are on a tight schedule but we will all get it done and delivered to the same standard.'

“Again when the co-ordination commission visited in May, two months after the chefs de mission had been, they were given the same reassurances.

“The co-ordination commission stated publicly in its press release that it put out that a key concern and key issue was the readiness in particular of the Games village.

“All the warning signs were there. We were pushing very hard, we kept pushing.

You can lead a horse to water you can't make it drink. These people just did not understand, or seem to accept the magnitude of the problem. There were consistently missed deadlines.

“The government agencies have let everybody down over here as regards meeting those deadlines.

“But that said we have to make it the best it can be and that's what we're all hoping to do now.”

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