March 2010
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The Delhi Games planned on an unprecedented scale

By Rita Payne

 UK Chair of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, reflects on Queen’s Baton Relay, the curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this year.

The Commonwealth Games taking place in the Indian capital from Oct 3 to 14, 2010 represent another opportunity for India to make a mark on the world stage. The Games are being planned on an unprecedented scale with spectacular opening and closing ceremonies focused on Indian culture – 8,000 athletes and officials will participate and there will be 17 sports ranging from archery, athletics to hockey, shooting, squash, weightlifting and wrestling.

Delhi is undergoing a comprehensive makeover in preparation for the Games. National and international airports are being revamped with a dedicated new terminal for the Games - metro lines are being extended, new flyovers and over-bridges are being constructed, 40, 000 rooms will be available for guests, officials and tourists and there will be programmes and events across Delhi to showcase Indian culture and arts.

There has, however, been harsh criticism of the pace of the preparations and opposition parties have also been sceptical. But the Games organisers have brushed aside these criticisms maintaining that their targets are being met and preparations are going according to plan. The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, says he remains confident that India will be able to organise a successful Games in 2010.

India hopes the Games will result in a tourist boom noting that October, the month when the Games are to be held, is the best time to visit Delhi which is located only a few hours away from the Taj Mahal in Agra. Also close by is the colourful state of Rajasthan with its forts palaces and rich history. Delhi also serves as a gateway to other tourist landmarks across the country.

With a little under a year to go before the opening of the Games in Delhi, India still has time to prove its critics wrong and show that it can stage a world class event and secure its position as one of the next economic superpowers of the world.

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