Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, scheduled at New Delhi in 2010, India’s ability to host an international sports extravaganza is taking a beating at Bangalore, where the IWAS’ World Games, virtually turning into a flop show.
From the day one, the meet has been going through several crises and it has exposed the lack of organisational skills of the administrators, who are running the show, especially the Paralympic Committee of India.
The Games is meant for wheelchair athletes and amputees and over 600 athletes from 35 countries figure in the meet. And it is a pity that these brave men and women, who defied to their physical infirmities to compete in sports, have been put through lot of hardship at the Games here.
Chaos marked the opening ceremony and it was a shocking sight to watch the IWAS vice-president himself being physically lifted to dais, as there are no ramps in the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
The athletes were forced to witness the inauguration, not from the stands, but at the ground itself as there was no access to get into the stands, due to lack of ramps. Technical equipments were not in place when the events began the next day, be it athletics, shooting or any other discipline and in fact, last minutes touches were being still given to some of the venues like Koramangala Stadium.
Everything seemed to be in short supply and athletes had no choice but to grin and bear it. Adding to their woes was the ill-prepared schedule, and many did not have clue to what’s going where and when. The local media fraternity, which has devoted considerable space for the coverage, were left in dark about the results and there are no records either of the previous event.
Many of the vehicles that have been arranged for transport did not have the low floor, which would be ideal for a wheelchair athlete to get into the vehicles. There are not enough makeshift toilets and drinking water too seemed to be scarce.
No wonder, the foreign delegates and teams, have expressed utter shock over the way the games is being run at Bangalore. The IWAS Technical Director, Jan Bockweg, said “I too share the responsibility for this mess as I had visited Bangalore thrice earlier and failed to anticipate the extent of the problems that we were going to face. The attitude of doing everything at a last minute has been the cause.”
Bockweg also hit out PCI and said “they had enough time to organise the Games in a professional manner, but they did not get their act right.”
Mr. Ratan Singh, the president of the Paralympic Committee of India, while acknowledging the lapses, said “we will sort out every problem and ensure a smooth conduct of the games. That’s what exactly he had promised while he announced the games early this year, and sadly failed to deliver. The worrying factor is most of the foreign teams are surely going back with negative image of the country and Bangalore, as a sports destination.
China made it a 1-2-3 finish in the women’s T54 wheelchair category 100m with Lisha Huang winning in great style even as German women took the other two sprint titles.
Women: Wheelchair T54: 100m: 1, Lisha Huang (Chn) 16.30s, 2. Wenjin Liu (Chn) 16.74s, 3.Ting Zhang (Chn) 16.81s. T42: 100m: 1. Jane Schmidt (Ger) 17.77s, 2. Venessa Low (Ger) 17.80s, 3. Ewa Zielinska (Pol) 18.07s.
T44: 100m: 1. Katrin Greene (Ger) 13.62s, 2. Kate Horan (Nzl) 13.97s, 3. Astrid Hofte (Ger) 14.07s.