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Work Still More To Be Done: CWG Boss

New Delhi: Racing against time and under attack from all-around, Commonwealth Games boss Mike Fennell on Saturday said considerable work has been done in the last few days to set things right but it has
PTI September 25, 2010 14:42 IST
PTI
New Delhi: Racing against time and under attack from all-around, Commonwealth Games boss Mike Fennell on Saturday said considerable work has been done in the last few days to set things right but it has to be completed and sustained throughout the event to make it a success.   

Facing searching questions from Indian and foreign journalists, Fennell, who was flanked by Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and other officials, said the time for blame game was over.   

"Considerable work has been done but still some more remains to be done," he said and expressed confidence that "we are going to have good Games".   

The focus should now be on conducting a safe and successful Games whatever be the scale of effort required, Fennell, President of Commonwealth Games Federation, said at an hour-long press conference.   

"We all have to share the blame and responsibility. In any Games, there are a number of stakeholders, overall we have to ensure that we do everything to conduct the Games.   

"Other Games have had problems and I believe that here also the problems would be sorted. A number of issues should have been and could have been avoided and that necessary corrective steps should be taken in good time," he said.   

Kalmadi, who faced a barrage of questions on the lack of preparations, said as Chairman of the OC he was ready to take "all the responsibility". But he lamented that the Games venues were given to the OC late.   

Asserting that the Delhi would have good Games, Fennell said, "a lot of damage has been done to India, which is the largest Commonwealth country. We need to learn lessons for hosting other events as well. This is part of the learning process.   

"I hope India would have learnt a lesson, we would have learnt a lesson," he said.  Elaborating on some of the things that still have to be done, Fennell said, these related to transport, security and evacuation of buildings.   

"The technology difficulties are like wi-fi service. Medical services and generally speaking all the matters that relate to living in the Village are being worked out," he said.   

"Following the action that has been taken by the government to ensure that the remedial work is done, I am very pleased to receive the news that the countries who were not convinced, have instructed their teams to travel to Delhi," he said.   

Fennell said while the work continues at the residential blocks, the international zone has turned out be brilliant.   

"On a happy note, the international zone has been completed and it is in very good condition and is an excellent international zone. The dining room and kitchen are excellent. The food is good, we had a meal there and it was excellent," he said.   

"Lot of work is being done which ought to have been done before," Fennell said.  But despite the controversy-marred build-up, calling off the Games "was never" on CGF agenda, he said.   

Asked whether he felt let down by India, which won the hosting rights way back in 2003 but are racing against time to wrap up the work, Fennell said, "we are disappointed with a number of things."  Saying the time for blame game was over, Fennell said, "if we are committed to the same goal, we should not find faults and criticise each other because we all want that the Games are held properly."   

Fennell pointed out that the facilities provided at the international zone which he termed "brilliant."  "The international zone has been completed. It is an excellent international zone. The dining room and kitchen are excellent. The variety of food is excellent."  Fennell lauded the international chefs de mission for co-operating in cleaning up the Village.   

"All the chefs de mission had been very forthright and critical of the arrangements. But they have worked very hard and personally done some cleaning up work at the Games Village. This is a demonstration which is extremely positive. They are working extremely hard for their teams. They have shown solidarity with the CWG movement," he added.   

"The Organising Committee and the government departments have responded to the needs very well. They are working hard and we would expect that the same good work would be sustained not only before the start of the Games but also throughout the Games," he added.   

However, the CGF chief conceded that there were still some concerns about the security and safety norms at the Games Village and at the venues.   

"What is of great concern is the security of athletes and officials who would be at the Games Village. The fire safety systems and the evacuation systems have to be in place. We are monitoring the situation carefully.   

Asked whether the CGF had woken up late to Delhi's problems, Fennell said he has been pointing out issue all along.  

"When I came here in August, I spoke about the cleaning up that was required and that there were a lot of debris and mess that needed to be cleaned. The OC is responsible for it and they rely on developers to handle that. The OC did not develop the venues, they were handed over the venues" he said.   

"The CGF entrusts the organisation of the Games on OC. That OC depends on agencies to build the venues. Those venues are handed over to OC during the Games. The responsibility lies with both the parties," he said.  

Asked whether the venues and Games Village have the requisite safety certificates from government agencies, Fennell said, "we are not structural engineers. We have got certificates that they are structurally sound and are compliant with building code. To our best knowledge, the buildings are ready for use."   

The first batch of English athletes have landed here and they have based themselves in hotels instead of the Games Village, Fennell was confident that they would soon be moving into the Games Village.   

"As soon as the apartments are clean and secure, they will move in. And this has been agreed that they will move in a phased manner. I am very happy that we are recording that there would be full participation in the Games," he said.   

"The teams were very concerned about the well-being of their athletes. When we thought that we were not moving in the right direction, I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary. While it was very sad that some of this work had not been done before but efforts are on," he added.   

Asked about the pull-outs that have dogged the Games, Fennell said not all of them can be linked to security and health fears.  

"Some of them have happened but there have been reasons and some of them have got nothing to do with Delhi. Some of them said it's October, they have to go to school, some were injured and son on," he said. PTI