New Delhi: Athletes will be the focus of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to ensure that big names do not opt out of the event as they did in Delhi, chief executive of the Scottish city’s organising committee John Scott has said.
Organisers of the 12-day Delhi Games which concluded on Thursday were let down by a number of athlete withdrawals before the competition for various reasons.
Some blamed security fears, others health concerns and many of those that that did come suffered a bout of Delhi belly or complained of long bus journeys from the Games Village to the venues but Scott was confident they would all be avoided.
“We are absolutely adamant we are about the sport and everything should flow out from the athletes, to be athletes-centred focused and let’s keep things as simple as,” Scott told Reuters.
Scott said he had been talking with athletes in Delhi and around the world to gather information to help Glasgow’s cause.
“Obviously you want to get all the big names, you do because it is a fabulous platform,” he added. “They are here to perform they want to do their absolute best.
“If you create the environment for that you will get a fabulous show and if the show is of the right quality, the people will love it, broadcasters will love it and it will be a great Games.”
The number of withdrawals for Delhi 2010 led to doubts that the Commonwealth Games was still a major sporting event but Scott rejected concerns that the gathering was losing its standing in a crowded calendar.
“There are only two multi-sports events that get athletes from all corners of the world that’s the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“The others are regional so what you get is that wonderful mix of talent that comes from the different parts of the world.
“The great attraction of the Commonwealth Games is it is an eclectic mix of countries, it is an eclectic mix of sports.”
Also helping Glasgow’s cause is the friendlier scheduling in the year. The 2014 Games is set to take place from 23 July-3 August, the middle of the season of many of the events sports. “Delhi couldn’t have done it in July because it is monsoon season so they had to deal with the realities of their climate. We are doing it in July, that is a window that is far better,” Scott said.
“Many of the sports don’t set their calendars that far out so what we are doing is we are developing a really strong relationship with the national sports federations.
“They (can) understand what we are trying to do is work with them rather than around calendar issues and I think that helps everyone.”
Scott said that Glasgow would have all their venues ready two years ahead of the Games to avoid the manic scenes witnessed in Delhi as organisers in India frantically tried to get things ready in the last few days before competition.
“I think everyone will admit it’s a mixed evaluation (of Delhi),” Scott said.
“They had some challenges in the run up to the opening and there was a lot of work they had to do in the very late stages and one of the things we are absolutely determined to be is prepared... and prepared well ahead.