Fair game

India’s performance at the Commonwealth Games 2010 (CWG-2010), its organisation of the event as well as its achievements in various sporting events, has received a thumbs-up globally. The 10-day event has concluded on a happy note. The opening and closing ceremonies were magnificent and showcased India’s colourful heritage. The sporting events went off smoothly. Stadium infrastructure, which many feared would not survive the Games, and housing facilities have been praised as world-class. There were no security incidents. Although several top athletes pulled out, the quality of performances at the events were not disappointing. Many new records were set. Most heartening has been the spectacular performance of India’s athletes, who managed to pip England at the post to win the second place. This was India’s best performance ever. Gold medals in badminton, boxing, shooting and wrestling were expected but certainly not in the numbers that our sportsmen and women won at CWG-2010. For the first time in 58 years, India won golds in track and field events; its women swept the medals in discuss throw and won the gold in the 4x400 relay. CWG-2010 has thrown up several new sporting icons for India’s youth. Hopefully, they will inspire young talent in the coming years.

India has let out a collective sigh of relief with the successful completion of CWG-2010. The country’s image was sullied in the run-up to the event when reports of corruption, filth, poor construction and chaos flooded the media. Many of these reports were not untrue. It was the hard work of thousands of underpaid labourers, the eleventh hour effort of some officials, the splendid performance of our sportspersons and the energetic participation of the public that saved the day. Those at the helm who bungled and bumbled through preparations for the past several years cannot take credit for CWG-2010’s resounding success.

Allegations of corruption, bloated budgets, poor construction and delays were levelled against several officials and contractors in the run-up to the event. Euphoria over the Games will tempt some to forget promises for a probe into these allegations. Nothing, not even the successful completion of the Games, should be allowed to dull our appetite to get to the bottom of the truth of how tax payers’ money was spent and misspent. India’s image as a global power is determined not just by its capacity to manage an event but by its commitment to financial probity, transparency and justice.

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