Australia praises India`s `exceptional` Commonwealth Games

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Sydney: India’s preparations for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games got a thumbs up from the usually stringent Australians and termed them as “exceptional” after organisers overcame a shambolic build-up and widespread criticism to deliver a largely successful event.

Sports Minister Mark Arbib said authorities “really got their act together” after a dreadful lead-in which included an attack on tourists, a footbridge collapse and accusations the athletes` village was unfit for human habitation.

India has done a great job in organising the Commonwealth Games, an Australian daily said Friday.

A day after the Games ended in New Delhi, The Age said: “The people of Delhi have done a terrific job, and are entitled to be proud. Faced with a lot of hurdles, they`ve pulled it off admirably.”

However, it criticised the Games` Indian organisers.

“They have let their country down,” it said. But “neither the people of Delhi, nor India as a whole, can be held accountable for the incompetence of (Commonwealth Games) Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.”

“Locals have been left to pick up the pieces, and done so manfully.”

“There were some difficulties prior to games getting underway, some issues around the village, some issues around unfinished facilities,” he told public broadcaster ABC.

“But the Indian authorities really got their act together in the last couple of weeks, got the Games facilities completed and got underway and the Games, when they were on, were very good.”

Sports Minister Arbib said Australia`s athletes had faced “challenges and trials” during the Games on their way to dominating the medals tally with 74 golds.

“The Australian athletes have just shown so much resilience,” Arbib said.

“Through all the challenges and trials of the Games and the Games village the Australian athletes have not lost the smile on their face. They`ve been very committed to competing the whole way through.”

But he added: “Overall as our athletes are saying and as the Commonwealth Games Federation said, they were an exceptional Games.”

Australian and New Zealand media also congratulated Delhi on the event in a surprisingly upbeat assessment.

“Bravo India” declared an editorial in Sydney tabloid the Daily Telegraph which described the New Delhi Games as a “glorious competition”.

“They`ve pulled it off admirably and deserve better than the carping, nit-picking and borderline racism that has masqueraded as informed coverage of the Games,” wrote Sydney Morning Herald journalist Peter Hanlon.

The New Zealand Press Association said organisation gradually improved as the Games progressed, to the point where everything was running like clockwork just before the closing ceremony.

“For a Games where all the (Western media) talk going in was about cancellation, or a swift transfer to Melbourne, and where athletes bailed out pre-Games for fears over their safety and hygiene, Delhi far exceeded expectations,” it said.

“Delhi did perform, and it did deliver, albeit in a quirky, colourful, spasmodic, random and often frustrating fashion.”

Meanwhile ABC quoted Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief Perry Crosswhite as saying an unnamed athlete was sent home in disgrace this week, but did not reveal the reason.

Crosswhite also said Indian police were investigating after a washing machine was thrown from a multi-storey athletes` village building following Australia`s Test cricket series defeat to India on Wednesday.

“I have my doubts that we did it; there were reports of other athletes from other countries in our residence at the time,” he said, according to ABC.
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This post was submitted by Remya.

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