Home > International, Politics, Sport > The Commonwealth Games, an opportunity or revelation?

The Commonwealth Games, an opportunity or revelation?

In 2008 the world was welcomed to China with the XXIX Olympiad Games. The critics were silenced, the supporters were pleasantly surprised and the international community as a whole was presented with a glimpse of the future superpower of the world. Two years on the international attention has returned to Asia and is focussed on China’s rival power; India. The XIX Commonwealth Games have arrived and for many in India they believe it is now their turn to present to the world their case as to why they should be seen as a future rival to China.

Not only is this an opportunity for India to field a strong team and hopefully end high on the medal tally, but it is also the chance for them to show that they are capable of hosting an event of this magnitude. In the past India has hosted smaller sporting centre pieces such as the SARC Games and Asian Games both of which were considered to have been successful. Now they have been invited to the big stage and the world waits to see what they are going to produce.

The build up to the games have not gone as planned by the organisers in India. We are now 9 days away from the opening ceremony and the problems are mounting against the event. The biggest issue is whether or not the teams will be travelling to take part citing security fears. No doubt any withdrawal from participation will be considered a failure on the part of India and its ability of hosting an event on the world stage.

It must be mentioned that prior to the Beijing Olympics there was much criticism and opposition to the games being hosted by a country accused of having ‘violated the basic human rights of its citizens.’ All though many critics of the critics claimed that these were accusations carried out by the West who have refused to see China as the future world leader. So are these reservations of attending the Delhi Commonwealth Games a similar trend or is there substantial evidence to support these fears?

With the games starting in barely over a week’s time the stadiums are incomplete, the athlete’s village has been described by the British has ‘uninhabitable by humans’ and there have been fears over the construction of the stadiums following the collapse of a bridge.

Rather than focussing on all of the shortcomings that are appearing in the Delhi Commonwealth Games it is a an opportunity to explore India. As the Beijing Games had done for China the Delhi Games will help present India to the world and help them decide whether they are ready for the role of a world superpower. Economically speaking many have questioned whether the amounts spent by the Delhi government on the games will be returned in revenue due to a seemingly unplanned budget. Original estimates on the cost of the games have been exceeded by 10 times the amount and this figure is growing further with the reconstruction to damaged centres and refurbishment of the Athletes Village. For a future world superpower the inability to correctly distribute funds indicates both a lack of expertise and a high level of corruption both of which appeared nonexistent in China.

The biggest piece of damaging news for India that emerged a few days ago was the introduction of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He has assumed control of the organisation of the games whilst excluding the Organisation Committee Chairman from any meetings. This highlights two facts about the games. First the importance the Indians have placed upon the games and secondly the ineptitude of the lower rungs of government at handling this sort of organisation. Perhaps Manmohan Singh’s introduction at this late stage may help save the Games for India however it will not draw attention away from the fact that those who were originally delegated the task were unable to handle it. This is also a large gamble for the Indians as it is now Prime Minister Singh who is at the forefront of the games and the future success or failure of the games will be placed at his feet.

The title of the post was questioning whether the Delhi Commonwealth Games were an opportunity or a revelation. It is now apparent that it is a revelation that India at this stage is still far behind the pace of China and will have their work cut out for themselves if they are to catch the Communist States. However it is also an opportunity as it has highlighted many of India’s shortcomings giving them the chance to rectify these issues.

Whether these games will be a success or not is still to be decided however whether or not India is ready to be considered a world superpower has been.

Categories: International, Politics, Sport
  1. Tha
    September 24, 2010 at 7:07 am

    A very balanced and well argued post. One of the best you have written. Well done. Keep it up

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