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Games chief worried Delhi still not ready with 200 days to go

New Delhi’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games have again come under fire from Mike Hooper, the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), who has admitted that the organisation is growing increasingly frustrated at the missed deadlines.

The Games are due to open in 200 days time on October 3 but several venues remain to be completed and fears continue to grow that the event will not be a success.

Hooper, a New Zealander, has spent most of the last year in the Indian capital trying to help get the project back on track, a role that has seen him clash repeatedly with Suresh Kalmadi, India’s most powerful sports administrator and the chairman of the local organising committee.

A peace-deal was brokered between the two men last October but Hooper’s latest comments could prove incendiary, even though they merely echo fears that the CGF President Mike Fennell expressed during a visit to Delhi last week.

Hooper is confident that India has help reassure a lot of countries over their concerns regarding security – especially following the successful hosting of the hockey World Cup, which finished on Sunday – but remains unhappy about the pace of building the facilities.

Hooper said: “The deadlines are being pushed further every time”.

“If the venue construction programme does not adhere to what are self-imposed deadlines now, it will impact adversely the operational obligations.”

Delhi officials are planning a day of celebrations on Sunday to mark the 200-day countdown and Kalmadi continues to insist that the Games will be the most successful in the event’s 80-year history, surpassing even Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006, which are widely credited with having raised the profile of the Movement.

Kalmadi said:”As we get closer to the Games, the sense of anticipation and excitement is growing”.

(By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year)