Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chief of 2014 Commonwealth Games says Glasgow will be ready two years early

THE facilities for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 will be in place two years before the event gets under way, chief executive John Scott has insisted.

Glasgow organisers are using the slogan "We're ready - are you?" to indicate their confidence that the completion of new stadiums and the renovation of others will be made well within the required time frame.

It is a state of preparedness in stark contrast to the situation in Delhi, where some facilities were only just finished on time and others are still not fully operational.

Mr Scott did not make the contrast explicitly, but he did not have to.

One of the key facets of Glasgow's bid for the Games was the fact that so many venues - Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park among others - were already built, and that others only needed renovation, which could be done with some time to spare.

"I am extremely confident that Glasgow is going to put on an outstanding Games," Mr Scott said yesterday at Scotland House, the team's base in a New Delhi hotel.

"We are a different environment (from Delhi].

"This (Scotland] is a country that has had experience of sport for a long time.

"It's a country that had a lot of its venues already in place, therefore has had some experience of staging this kind of event.

"We didn't have the scale of infrastructure and ambition that Delhi had - Delhi not only has built all these new sports venues, it has put in a metro system and an incredible new road system.

"Good for them. They wanted to move this city and this country forward.

"We are also having some legacy impact (on Glasgow]. There's the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, the national indoor sports arena, the entertainment arena.

"We are very fortunate that we are well on track. All of them will be complete - all of the capital projects will be complete by 2012 - which will give us that wonderful window between the end of 2012 and the Games to prepare.

"We will have an opportunity to test those events. We have already secured the world junior track cycling championships for 2013.

"That will test that venue at that level of competition. We are in a very good place to be well prepared."

One important reason for that preparedness, according to Mr Scott, is the fact that London will host the Olympics two years before the Glasgow Games.

The two organising committees have already signed an agreement to work together in a number of practical ways.

"We will benefit hugely from London. London is two years prior to us: that is a big, multi-sport games in a British context. We've got excellent relationships.

"Don't forget: Glasgow is an Olympic city.

It's part of that planning."

Colleagues of Mr Scott's have been here as part of the Commonwealth Games Federation's observer programme, hoping to learn from what has gone right in the Indian capital as well as what has gone wrong.

From the feedback that Mr Scott has been given so far, he believes the sheer novelty of an event such as this has been responsible for some of the problems.

"All Games have their problems and challenges, and Delhi has had some challenges.

"The big challenge for India is that it doesn't have a familiarity with many of these sports.

"This is a sleeping giant as far as sport is concerned.

"I'm not here to criticise Delhi. Our role is to deliver a Games that fits firmly with our stated ambition.

"Glasgow is a city that is familiar with events and has done many events before, but it has never done anything of this scale.

"That's why it's important that we remain aware and cannot be complacent. You can learn from any event you go to."

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