Stick by the rules and have a great time in Delhi, says Wales Chief Jenkins
Gary Baker on 22/03/2010
Delhi will host the 2010 Commonwealth Games no matter as Wales' Chef d'Mission expects athletes to have a magnificent time in the Indian city.
Worries over security prompted ideas last year that the Games would be switched to another venue, with the 2006 hosts Melbourne and Manchester, which held the 2002 Commonwealths, the most likely alternatives.
However, despite the security concerns which have seen some top athletes from other countries already elect to stay away, Chris Jenkins, the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales chief, believes participants will have a fantastic time - as long as they abide by safety guidelines.
Just two months ago, the Togo national football team were attacked as their coach drove to Angola's capital Lusaka through dangerous territory instead of flying in for the African Cup of Nations.
Jenkins has been to Delhi a number of times, the most recent at Christmas last year, and, while saying it is too late for the Commonwealths to be switched anywhere else, thinks it will be a great occasion.
Jenkins said, regarding the fears: "It is seven months to go and the approach we have taken is to monitor the situation and work very closely with the Metropolitan Police, who deal with all British countries, and with Delhi Police, Commonwealth Games Federations and security advisers.
"They look at the preparations that the Delhi police have been making and how far they are on a 'master-plan'. I saw them just before Christmas and people are generally very impressed on what they are doing.
"There is good planning, good openness and communication. It is the same with Metropolitan Police which is to ensure that the athletes have a safe, secure time while they are in Delhi."
No other cities have been put on stand-by either. "There are no plans to move the Games (if something happened). Delhi will host the Games categorically.
"If you are going to move the Games, you have to do it years in advance to build an Athletes Village and other aspects because, logistically, it is a massive undertaking.
"There is nothing whatsoever to suggest that the Games will be moved - they are not going to be moved - and there is no pressure to move the Games because the Delhi security is very impressive indeed. The security consultants, who have been there to pick holes in it, were impressed."
Jenkins, though, said that people attending and participating in the Games, would, like any other major sporting event such as the summer's football World Cup in South Africa, have a good time if they adhered to the security measures.
"What you have to do is to look at the planning and stick to those plans, make sure you take the advice. Regarding the Togo footballers in the African Cup of Nations, however unfortunate that was, you have to ask how that happened, did they take note of all the advice they were given and did they follow out those plans?
"To be honest, as far as I can see, if they had followed all their plans, stuck to the advice, they would not have been on a coach in the wrong place. You have got to take security advice and follow it.
"That is the type of thing we deal with here, to make sure people are in the right place at the right time, then they can be protected. If you are outside that, then, by definition, you increase your risk."
There is also another concern about the Delhi Commonwealth Games and that surrounds the issue of whether venues will be finished on time.
Jenkins has no doubt that any of these will be resolved long before the Opening Ceremony on October 3.
He said: "When I visited just before Christmas, I went to see three or four venues, ones of which I had major doubts about, and what surprised me was how far they had come on since October (his last visit).
"I was quite blown away by a couple because I didn't realise there could be that amount of progress in such a short space of time.
"I am not a construction worker and I don't understand how long it will take to put a venue up, but to suddenly go back five weeks later and see this dramatic change, you then think 'Well, actually, I'm not very good at knowing how long this would take to complete'.
"One or two venues are going to be last minute. It is a 'Last Minute Society'. That's the way they work but the same could be said about Athens, about Beijing (Olympics), there has always been questions on venues and whether they will be ready.
"The vast majority are pretty well complete and will be finished by the end of this month (while others will run on into June.
"The two which will be around June are athletics and swimming. They are two major ones but the reason is that both are complicated refurbishments of existing buildings.
"If they were new build, it would have been simpler. They are staggeringly complicated and but I'm very confident they will be ready by June."
The Welsh squad for Delhi will be announced in stages, said Jenkins, but a Long List of athletes has been drawn up for registration to the Games authorities.
"The way we are going to do it is that some sports are pretty far advanced, because they have had their seasons, so some of those teams will be announced probably around April-time.
"Others, who will be running a little bit into the summer, such as athletics and swimming, their teams will probably not be announced until July."
And have Wales any medal figures? "There are no targets as such," said the Chef d'Mission.
"It is all about delivering athletes. The targets we have are actually internal so that the back-of-stage goes according to plan."
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