“We expecting to win 95% of all medals in the CWG. It will be unprecedented, for sure”
CWG, or the Commonwealth Games, are currently the hot topic of discussion in Indian Media, due to reportedly shoddy state of the facilities, including an overhead pedestrian bridge which collapsed just a few days ahead of the games inauguration on Oct 3. For some reasons it was BBC who exposed the “horrible state” of the CWG facilities, while India has hundreds of Television News Channels were debating over various other important issues 24×7.
“It’s unfortunate that the games have got a lot of bad press,” said a calm, and undeterred Kalmadi, fielding questions from various journalists, “because of the obsession of Indian media to concentrate on negatives. We, at the OC, are more concerned about an Indian success in the games, than about some overhead bridge that will be used by some onlookers. We’re more concerned about players”
In 2006 version of the games, hosted in Melbourne, Australia, India finished fourth, with 22 Gold medals, and 50 medals in total — less than 10% of total medals being contested. So it would surely be a tall task to win 95% of the medals, noted a reporter.
“True. Traditionally, we’ve not done too well in Commonwealth games. This time, however, with the home advantage, we should be able to sweep most of the events. Many of the international athletes have already realized that, and are withdrawing from the competitions for one overt reason or another. It’s sad to see this unsporting attitude of professional sports-persons. But it’s obvious to us that they’re scared at facing Indian athletes in their home conditions — the sewage, the mosquitoes, and so on”, said Kalmadi, explaining the rational behind the games planning and execution.
“International athletes are used to unnatural standards of hygiene and quality. When Indian players compete in these events outside, they’re baffled by the surroundings — clean rooms, finished stadiums, usable latrines. They’re overwhelmed by it all, and it impacts their performance. We’re trying to give them more homely feeling here, so that they can do their utmost best”, said Kalmadi.
Brushing aside the criticism of OC as “elitist propaganda”, Kalmadi insisted that he is the representative of the “common man”, like any leader from his party.
“What we have in opposition, today, is essentially an elitist party. Much of the complaints about the preparations of games really do not reflect the problems of common man in this country.
Back in Pune, where we saw similar criticisms of the youth games preparations, I was re-elected by the common man. Because, at the end of the day, common man wants to see level playing field, not further advantages given to a bunch of elite people. If common man is living with those mosquitoes, why should the players be spared of them? If common man does not have clean toilets, why should some visiting, pampered players have those?”
“There is a reason why it’s called a games village! Have any of those criticizing CWG preparations seen a real village?”, asked Kalmadi, as he joined Delhi CM, Sheila Dixit for an aerial inspection of the CWG facilities.