To assert that the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games has evolved into a national embarrassment would be a gross understatement: aside from the shabby infrastructure, poor hygiene and sanitation, as well as sub-par management, the failure to address security concerns have turned many away from participation. Internally – within the administration – the lack of leadership, coupled with pedantic and bureaucratic approaches have been unfortunate recipes for disaster.
But as Indian officials try desperately to salvage the Games with last-minute inspections and all-round operations, the Commonwealth Games Federation cannot expect to shirk its responsibilities. After all, an Indian failure in this regard corresponds naturally to a failure on the part of the Federation. Where was the Federation years ago when the lack of accountability and the proliferation of cronyism-nepotism were leading to inertia in terms of the preparations for the Games? Why was the Federation not heavily involved in ensuring that projects were on-time and up-to-standard? Were there no external professionals engaged to assist inexperienced officials in the organisation of the Games?
If no one in India was helming the front to provide consistent leadership, the Federation should have stepped up and nudged the country in the right direction. Surely it cannot naively believe that its responsibilities cease right from the moment a country wins a bid, and do nothing but expect something good to emerge without the proper checks and balances in place.
A version of this article was published in the International Herald Tribune, the Global Edition of The New York Times.