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Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Games 2014: Glasgow off the blocks

With deadlines scheduled for early 2010, Delhi is now racing to complete the Commonwealth Games 2010 projects. And while the government may reiterate time and again that the city will be able to host the Games successfully, work has indeed lagged behind. Meanwhile, distant Glasgow, Delhi's successor for the 2014 Games, is already buzzing with activity. Interestingly, this Scottish city has started work on many of the projects earmarked for the Games, with deadlines kept to 2012/13, leaving a year to make up for any slack.

The schedule is not new. Most countries hosting a sporting event of this magnitude traditionally keep a year in hand, with deadlines for infrastructural projects kept a comfortable year ahead. For instance, Melbourne, which hosted Commonwealth Games in 2006, completed all its infrastructural projects a year before the Games were to take place. Even its volunteer programme had started shaping up in 2005, so as to give organisers ample time to attend to any snags that may crop up before the Games.

It's a precaution that the Glasgow organising committee, called Glasgow 2014, has not forgotten to take. The Glasgow 2014 comprising a member from Commonwealth Games Scotland, the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council has already drawn up the list of works that need to be implemented for the Games in 2014. And it has started work on several of them.

Speaking to TOI, Gordon Arthur, director of communications, Glasgow 2014, said, "Glasgow 2014 is in the early stages, but we aspire to deliver an astounding athlete-centred Games in 2014.'' This despite the fact that Glasgow's bid for the Games was heavily dependent on the city already having a majority of venues (70%) in place.

For instance, the contract for Athlete's Village, which is a building coming up in the city's East End and will have 1,100 housing units for over 6,500 players and officials, has been awarded in June 2009. The tendering process for the project was started last year. Similarly, the tendering process for one of the biggest projects for the Games, the National Indoor Sports Arena, was started in late 2008, with the contract being awarded in August of this year. The deadline for completion of the project is the summer of 2011.

Even upgradation of the existing venues has been started, say Glasgow officials. Venues like the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Complex and the Royal Commonwealth Pool Edinburgh have already seen work starting this year, with the latter being opened to the public in 2011.

It's not just venues but also transport projects like the extension of the M74 motorway, a new high-speed rail link from Glasgow airport to the city centre and other road improvements that have seen early activity. Officials say that since the projects are also part of a long-term regeneration plan for the city, groundwork for many has started in earnest. Besides the infrastructure, the organising committee has also drawn up its plans for involving volunteers, "though the plan will be implemented mcuh nearer the Games,'' add officials.

What's important, admit officials, is the partnership that the various agencies involved with the Games are working on. As they say, "it's the key to delivering a successful Games.''
Source : Times of India
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