India Threatens To Pull India Out of CW Games
New Delhi: In yet another regular setback to the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, the president of the Indian Olympic Association today expressed his misgivings over the ‘inadequate and incomplete facilities’ for the athletes and other sportspersons at the stadia that are still to be built.
‘If there is no marked improvement in the situation over the next 48 hours, the Indian contingent may even be forced to pull out of the Games,’ the IOA president Suresh Kalmadi warned in a letter to the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi. The letter was handed over to the media by the postman as the foundation stone for the CWG Organising Committee chief’s office was still to be laid.
Later, in a hurriedly convened press conference at a posh star hotel, IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi lashed out at the Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, saying that the Indian contingent will not hesitate to pull out of the Games even though it may be playing host to the Games.
‘I don’t think India being the host nation should come in the way of India not participating in the Games,’ IOA chief Kalmadi said and added that there was the bigger precedence of India not hosting the SAF Games despite it being the host nation in the past.
(IOA chief Kalmadi was referring to the 2002 SAF Games that India, as the host nation, failed to host the Games since the authorities had intimated the dates to every participating and non-participating nation, but not to the hosting country. There was, however, no major embarrassment then, as every participating team’s contingent comprised solely of hundreds of officials, who had nothing to do with sports).
In the press conference, IOA chief Kalmadi was particularly aghast at the fact that the five-star hotels where the several hundred officials of the various sports federations (all headquartered in New Delhi) will be staying were close to the Games village where the sportspersons will be put up. ‘Imagine the logistical nightmare that such a set-up will pose. Most of the officials can’t even begin to relax in peace, which is one of the vital tasks that an official actually attempts,’ IOA chief Kalmadi said.
Asked by reporters whether there was a conflict of interest in his being the IOA chief as well as the head honcho of the organising committee, Kalmadi quipped, ‘you have to pose this question to the organising committee chief’.
Meanwhile, the CWG Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi, held a press conference at another star hotel, where he strongly came to his own defence by saying that the main stadium for the Commonwealth Games, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, was completed in 1982 itself. ‘To claim that we are behind the schedule is ridiculous. Is there any other country where the main facility for the Games was completed 28 years ahead of schedule?’ he asked rhetorically.
Asked specifically about the charges made by the IOA president Kalmadi, the Games Organising Committee chief Kalmadi replied that in democracy everyone has the right to express his or her opinion. ‘My good friend IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi will bear me out when I say that in a mature democracy, it’s also not wrong for two persons to reside in one person,’ Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi reasoned philosophically.
The organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi also stoutly defended music maestro A R Rahman and the games anthem that had drawn considerable flak. ‘Those who criticise the games anthem as not being instantly likable are only belying their lack of understanding of Rahman’s music. Since when his songs have been liked at the first instance itself? His Roja songs became a legend after 10 years of listening. The games anthem too will be praised in 2020. After all, Rahman delivers the music of the future,’ Kalmadi pointed out.
Asked by reporters whether there was a conflict of interest in his being the head honcho of the organising committee as well as the IOA chief, Kalmadi quipped, ‘you have to pose this question to the IOA president’.
Elsewhere, the Humour Association of Writers (HAW) filed a PIL in the Supreme Court accusing the New Delhi Commonwealth Organising Authorities of following unfair trade practices and making them redundant. ‘What we think up as spoofs have been made every-day events at the Games. With these Games people around, nobody will need humour writers,’ said a HAW spokesperson.
The Supreme Court, however, threw out the plea on the grounds that it’s wrong to say that Kalmadi and Co have nothing to do with humour. ‘After all, they are the ones laughing all the way to the banks always,’ the Court said in its single line order.
(Disclaimer: Spoof? Well, we don’t know)