Indians circling wagons?

NEW DELHI, Jan 31 - New Delhi will host the Commonwealth Games in 2010 as scheduled, a senior Indian minister said on Monday, rejecting allegations of government apathy towards organising the sporting spectacle.
We are committed to the Games,'' said federal Human Resource minister Arjun Singh. It is a matter of national prestige. We will do a great job of organising it.’’
The government placated worried sports officials by forming two high-powered committees to organise the Games, awarded to India in November 2003 by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) over the Canadian city of Hamilton.
Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi will head the organising committee, while federal sports minister Sunil Dutt will chair an apex body to co-ordinate between the government and the organising committee.
The decision to set up the panels came two weeks after IOA secretary-general Randhir Singh warned that New Delhi could lose the right to stage the Games because of the government’s delay in forming an organising committee.
CGF President Mike Fennel is due to visit India this week to oversee the preparations for the four-yearly event.
New Delhi had secured 46 votes against Hamilton’s 22 to become only the second Asian city after Kuala Lumpur to earn the Games.
The Indian government has already pledged to underwrite the Games budget of 420 million dollars, while further funds will be raised through sponsors and the sale of television rights.
New Delhi has in the past hosted the Asian Games twice, in 1951 and 1982, but lost its bid for the 2006 event to Doha, Qatar, when it won just one vote in addition to its own.
The organising committee will soon take a decision on including the country’s biggest sport, cricket, at the Games which is likely to be limited to between 10 to 15 disciplines.
Cricket was played at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was omitted at Manchester, England in 2002 and will not be part of the 2006 Games in Melbourne, Australia.