'Bravo India' Say Australian, New Zealand Media

SYDNEY, Oct 15 (TOI): India defied a disastrous start to produce a safe and successful Commonwealth Games which were running smoothly by the final stages, Australian and New Zealand media said on Friday.

"Bravo India" declared an editorial in Sydney tabloid the Daily Telegraph which described the New Delhi Games as a "glorious competition".

"This isn't down to mere good fortune. Games officials have worked hard throughout to ensure a Games to remember, and for all the right reasons," it said, as it praised the South Asian giant's best ever gold medal haul.

New Delhi organisers suffered a barrage of bad publicity in the lead-up to the October 3-14 competition, with complaints about the unfinished and unhygienic athletes' village, the risk of dengue fever and venue safety fears.

Days ahead of the event, the Australian government had warned of a "high risk of terrorism" during the Games, while athletes were also put off by the risk of contracting dengue fever.

But while the Games struggled against construction delays, empty stadiums and ticketing chaos, its security lockdown was effective, said The Australian.

"That India, a giant chaotic democracy located in one of the world's most unstable regions, managed to avert a major terror attack in the face of serious threats from regional militants is a significant mark of success," it said.

And while there had been incompetence from organisers, the locals had picked up the pieces and shown that "even the biggest mess can be cleaned up", The Sydney Morning Herald said.

"They've pulled it off admirably and deserve better than the carping, nit-picking and borderline racism that has masqueraded as informed coverage of the Games," wrote journalist Peter Hanlon.

The New Zealand Press Association said organisation gradually improved as the Games progressed, to the point where everything was running like clockwork just before the closing ceremony.

"For a Games where all the (Western media) talk going in was about cancellation, or a swift transfer to Melbourne, and where athletes bailed out pre-Games for fears over their safety and hygiene, Delhi far exceeded expectations," it said.

"(By the closing ceremony) Games buses were running on time, crowds at many venues were sizeable, as security guards relented on their frisking frenzy.

"Delhi did perform, and it did deliver, albeit in a quirky, colourful, spasmodic, random and often frustrating fashion."

However, it poured cold water on Delhi's ambitions to host the 2020 Olympics, concluding: "Those Games, India is not ready for."


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