CGF chief Hooper believes India aren't ready to bid for 2020 Olympics
COMMONWEALTH Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper believes India are not ready to bid to host the 2020 Olympics - but still believes Delhi 2010 was a success story.
SPEAKING OUT: Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper believes India is not yet ready to host the Olympics (Reuters)
Last month's Games endured tumultuous preparations both in the short-term and the long-term with pictures of squalid living conditions in the athletes' village thrust across front and back pages alike just days before the opening ceremony.
A collapsing bridge near the main stadium sparked safety fears while rumours of boycotts from the major countries were rife and during the Games empty stadia and poor scheduling were further blots on the organising committee's copybook.
But the problems were more entrenched than that. A myriad of squabbling committees ensured the deadlines for the construction of venues were constantly put back while the Delhi 2010 organising committee and its president Suresh Kalmadi took attempts from the CGF to step in as personal insults.
And a year before the Games, Kalmadi called for Hooper to be sacked, insisting he was ‘of no use'.
Allegations of corruption and financial irregularities have also been rife and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is currently investigating all 24 institutions involved in the delivery of the Games.
All of the above does not make for good reading and what was supposed to be India's big coming out party and a chance to banish stereotypes of shoddy workmanship and dodgy dealings only served to enhance them.
A 2020 Olympic bid, which would almost certainly come from Delhi, would therefore seemingly lie in ruins but International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has suggested he would support an Indian bid should it be forthcoming.
But Hooper, who suffered the indignity of witnessing a effigy of himself being burned during Delhi 2010 by angry protesters, believes 2020 is too soon.
"Speaking purely from a personal level I think there is a bit more work to be done in India and in terms of the range of sports they can host before they take the step towards 2020," said Hooper.
"There are a lot of changes that they need to make but it's a good illustration of how they can change for the better.
"The reality was that the main problem with an emerging nation hosting a major sporting event is infrastructure.
"We were excited to take the Games to a new country and take it away from the bigger countries such as Australia, Canada and the UK.
"We have 71 nations with the Commonwealth Games Federation and so from an emerging nation's perspective, it was very exciting - and so we're pleased to hear Sri Lanka are interested in bidding.
"But we saw that all the challenges were with infrastructure, and then during the Games, from an operational point of view."