New Zealand’s delegation said on Tuesday that the New Delhi Commonwealth Games may not go ahead as organisers tried to calm growing fears over personal security and the athletes’ housing at the Games.
Commonwealth Games organisers on Tuesday tried to calm growing international concerns after New Zealand joined the chorus of participants questioning whether the October 3-14 Games in India will ever take place.
On Monday shots were fired at a tour bus in New Delhi, wounding two Taiwanese tourists, and an explosion started a fire in the same neighbourhood, but did not cause any casualties.
A local Islamist group, the Indian Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the bus attack, but not the blast. The group, which carried out attacks in New Delhi in 2008, has previously threatened to disrupt the Games.
The 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi is set to host 7,000 athletes from around the word, and expects to attract thousands of spectators from over 71 countries.
"The shooting yesterday was an isolated incident that did not target the Games," Suresh Kalmadi, president of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, told AFP.
“All security measures for athletes and tourists who come to the Games have been taken, I assure you."
Athletes village is 'not ready'
On Monday Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key, added his voice to Australian concerns over security, stating that his government took the attacks very seriously.
The security concerns have only compounded other concerns over the completion of the athlete’s village, which is reportedly facing severe delays.
New Zealand’s participation in the Games was called into question Tuesday by team manager Dave Currie, who cited difficulties with the accommodation, citing problems with cleanliness, plumbing, and electrical wiring.
“If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that (the event) is not going to happen,” Currie told radio network newstalkZB.
Indian officials were quick to address Currie’s concerns on Tuesday.
"I can assure everyone there is no cause for worry," said Randhir Singh, the organising committee vice-chairman. "We are working round the clock to take care of any problems. When the athletes arrive here they will find an excellent facility," Singh told reporters.
Fifty-million euros on high-tech security
And to counter the mounting criticism over security, authorities have launched the book “Road to the 2010 Commonwealth Games”, an inventory of all the security measures taken by the government and organisers in relation to the Games.
Featured are all sorts of high-tech gadgets, such as barcode bomb-proof garbage cans and next-generation surveillance cameras. The book reveals that the cost of the technology totals around 50 million euros. In addition, a further 60 million has been invested by the Ministry of the Interior to insure security at the Games’ main sites.