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Delhi misjudged size of task: Athens official
Delhi Commonwealth Games organisers have misjudged the size of the task of hosting a multi-sport event, said an Olympics official.
Athens: Delhi Commonwealth Games organisers have misjudged the size of the task of hosting a massive multi-sport event, an Athens 2004 Olympics official said on Friday.
Given seven years to prepare for an event smaller than the summer Olympics, organisers have been embarrassed by complaints of filthy accommodation, shoddy construction and security fears in the lead-up to the October 3-14 Games in the Indian capital.
"It seems they took over the Commonwealth Games without having the conditions to do them," Lambis Nikolao, head of the Greek Olympic Committee at the time of the 2004 Olympics, said in an interview.
"Major international sporting events are huge in size. If you are not careful they can turn into complete madness."
"You have to be strict and stick to what you have signed in the contracts ... Nothing more but also nothing less."
Athens also faced a frantic rush to complete venues after squandering three years of preparations, and drew international criticism amid doubts about whether the Olympics would be ready.
Organisers managed to complete the work, however, albeit just days before the start, and the Games went ahead without any major operational glitch or security incident.
"I do not think it will be the same in New Delhi," added Nikolao, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and a former vice-president.
"In Athens there was a lot of infrastructure work that was not visible but that had been done long before the Games started and everyone just put in a fantastic finish.
"But the important groundwork was there."
Delhi had hoped to use the Games to display India's growing global economic and political influence, but has been hit with infrastructure failures, a dengue fever outbreak and a tourist shooting by unknown assailants in recent days.
Australia's Olympic chief John Coates on Friday said the Games should never have been awarded to Delhi in the first place.
"At some point in Athens everyone was working for the same common cause," he said, citing traffic fears in Athens that failed to materialise as the city's notoriously unruly drivers stayed off the designated Olympic lanes.
"But again, the groundwork was there.
"In Delhi, there seems to be a lack of knowledge on how to deal with this issue now."
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