Commonwealth Games Blogs

Will Delhi be ready?

I recently returned from Paris, where I played in the badminton world championships. God, I love that city. The energy, the food, the cheese. Oh, the cheese.

It's a good thing I'm in Vancouver again and back into my heavy training preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Otherwise, I'd surely be packing some extra cheese-pounds around the midriff for my trip to Delhi.

The tournament in Paris went decently. I progressed passed the Irish player that I "should" beat, and lost to the Hong Kong player that is ranked above me. I view the trip as a success, as it gives me the world ranking points I need to secure a top-eight seeding for the Commonwealths. This allows me to avoid meeting the best players in the early rounds of competition, as the top eight in the rankings are placed in different quadrants of the tournament draw.

Indian athletes split

We're now less than a month away from the opening ceremony for the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and the question of whether or not the city will be ready is again in the headlines.

While in Paris last week, I took the opportunity to ask two of my friends from the Indian badminton team what they thought.

Saina Newhal, my good friend and the No. 3-ranked player in the world, told me Delhi will be ready to host a great Games come opening day. On the other hand, my friend Chetan Anand, also a medal hopeful, wasn't so sure. Chetan told me he did not think it was possible for all the venues to be done on time considering there's just four weeks until the Games begin.

Who will be right? Only time will tell.

Remember Athens

The challenges for Delhi have come from all sides. Mother Nature has played her part by hammering the region with record-breaking rains, preventing work crews from building on schedule. Human cock-ups have also played a major role, with new corruption allegations seemingly being announced all the time.  

Thankfully, the badminton building is already up, and it's apparently a great venue. In any case, as athletes we have to focus on getting ourselves as prepared as possible for competition no matter what the conditions. The good news is, no matter how challenging the conditions get, they're the same for all competitors. How we deal with these challenging conditions is then up to us.

But amidst all of this Commonwealth doomsday-ness, I'm reminded of the Athens Olympics back in 2004. All the reports in the months leading up to those Games said that Athens would not be ready. Transportation, construction... you name it, and they didn't have it ready. But in the end, the Athens Games were a huge success.  

I'm hoping the same will ring true for Delhi.