Thursday, September 9, 2010

Commonwealth Practice

Next month marks Delhi's "arrival" on the international sports scene when the Commonwealth Games begin. While these games aren't the Olympics, they're similar in nature and require the same types of logistics, planning, and construction, albeit on a smaller scale. If you remember news stories about Athens preparedness for the 2000 Summer Olympics, it's been much the same here. Unfortunately, with Athens many of those stories were a year or so before the games. We're 24 days from the start of the games and there is still a lot of work to do. Venues are still not finished, subways and mass transit systems are behind schedule, "beautification projects" aren't finished, some new venues are already deemed unfit to fill to capacity for risk to the structure, and there's a new story in the paper each day about some sort of corruption. In other words, it's kind of a mess.

While I have no plans to go to any events (I'll actually only be in-country the first four days), I am curious to see how they make Delhi look during the games as a showpiece to the rest of the world (or at least as a showpiece to the rest of the former British empire). I've got a feeling that it will look the way the government wants the world to think India should look, much like the way Augusta National flies in flowers to make The Masters look the way people expect it to look. My guess is that the "beautification projects" (my word, not an official term) will be finished in time when the cameras are rolling.

My experience with the Commonwealth Games will likely be with how it effects the commute. Thankfully, I live close to the office. Like a seven minute walk. As a result, it won't impact my day personally, but I worry that others that travel one to two hours per day under normal circumstances will have a very rough couple weeks during the games. Yesterday there was a "traffic police practice day," basically a dry run for the police to get their patterns down. The impact, even on the streets of Gurgaon, was obvious. Roads were plugged, and travel times skyrocketed. It doesn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence that getting around from October 3 - 14 will be much fun.


  1. So have you seen the blue squares ... denoting the CWG only traffic lanes? nightmare!

    Someone said (news article or another blog, I can't remember) that they are going to hoist bamboo walls in an effort to "hide" what they can't pretty up in time.


  2. Saw the blue squares on the way to the airport last week on NH8; surprisingly, most cars seemed to be staying away from the lane but a lot of motorcycles were still there. I think they're doing another test run this weekend....going to be interesting.

    That is sad if they're going to "hide" what they can't pretty up. I'm guessing that most people actually coming to the games know what to expect so it only makes it seem worse. It's still a developing country that has grown significantly; there's no shame in that and there's no shame in exposing both sides.