India corruption ruins Commonwealth Games

After just one day in, the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India have already been labeled a failure. I can see some of you scratching your heads, wondering what “commonwealth” means.  Even as a self-proclaimed senior global studies major, I had to do some research.   The “Commonwealth of Nations” is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 54 independent member states that were all part of the former British Empire. So who really cares about the “Commonwealth Games” anyway?  I mean, let’s be serious: These games exclude the U.S. and most of Latin America among many other athletic nations.   It’s like the lame, private version of the Olympics where they play all those wussy English sports such as cricket and badminton. The reason we are talking about them is that this year there are some problems, major problems. For host country India, the excitement to showcase their country and gain more international respect has morphed into a feeling of international embarrassment.   Originally supposed to start in March, the games were postponed three times, and many believe the facilities and accommodations are still inadequate.   Dean Nelson of The Telegraph reports that the Athletes Village is filthy, with photographs showing “muddy paw prints on athletes’ beds and signs that the showers had been used as lavatories.”  There are also pictures that prove child labor was used to complete some last-minute work.   Other fiascos include the collapse of a footbridge at the main stadium and the crumbling of a ceiling at a weightlifting venue.   On top of all this there is a high risk of “al-Qaida-linked” terrorists to attack foreign athletes and threats from angry north Indian farmers to inundate the city with cattle. So, cricket anyone? While India may be defining globalization on a new level and are soon to be one of the world’s most powerful economies, India is still rife with corruption. This corruption is most prominent in government officials, who are blamed for the lack of preparation. Dilip Cherian, India’s leading public relations figure, said, “[officials] were focused on slim pickings. Because they got caught in playing a [bribe] game, they allowed other things to slip,” as reported by The Telegraph. One of my Indian-American friends told me that on his last visit to India, he paid-off a police officer who was in the process of giving him a parking ticket, saying it was “routine, everyone does it, and it happens all the time.” I fully support India in their efforts to execute an international event, but they aren’t ready. More important than the economic gains and international stature from hosting a large-scale sporting event is athletic competition.   The passion and vitality is there, but until their law enforcement and infrastructure are more efficient, I would suggest other locations for the Commonwealth Games.