The Top 5 Problems and Scandals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games

September 28, 2010

With less than a week to go from the start of New Delhi’s 2010 Commonwealth Games, the event already seems to be mired in an Olympic-sized amount of controversy.

Meant for athletes with ties to the former British Empire, the Commonwealth Games typically serve as a measuring stick for those eager to compete against top-flight competition.

For India, the Games were meant to showcase the nation as a regional power, highlighting India’s sporting accomplishments relative to its regional rivals, Pakistan and China. As such, the Games were intended to be India’s coming-out party, with the aim of showing China that India could also host a major multi-sport event.

In addition, the Games also could have symbolized India's continued rise vis-a-vis its traditional rival Pakistan, with whom India has fought four wars and numerous border clashes. Many had presumed that this high-profile event would instantly boost India's prestige, especially following on the heels of a major Pakistani cricket scandal that recently has emerged.

But instead of highlighting India's strengths, the Games have brought attention to India's most glaring weaknesses.

Here are the top 5 problems encountered thus far at the 2010 Commonwealth Games:

#5 $80 Toilet Paper Rolls

Reports of corruption and shady contract procedures have become synonymous with the Commonwealth Games. The $80 dollar toilet paper rolls reported by Bloomberg are perhaps the most egregious.

#4 Bridge Collapse

Images of the collapsed pedestrian bridge near Nehru Stadium have become symbolic of these troubled Games. Twenty-two were injured in the collapse, while reports of a falling ceiling at another venue have highlighted the lack of preparation for the event.

#3 Dengue Fever

Delhi is currently in the grips of the worst dengue fever outbreak in a decade, causing several sports doctors to openly express worries about the athletes' safety. Two Indian cyclists have already been treated for symptoms of the illness, which is contracted via mosquitoes.

#2 Doping Scandals

Two Indian swimmers slated to compete in the 2010 Commonwealth Games made a splash when they were banned from the Games in a doping scandal. Similar discoveries have rocked the Indian wrestling team as well.

#1 Athletes Village Snafu

At any multi-sporting event, the Athletes Village should be a showcase of the hosts. This is the one venue used by all the athletes, and is usually one of the most lavish and expensive facilities.

Unfortunately, this has hardly been the case at the New Delhi facility, as reports of ruined bathrooms, soiled beds, dogs and snakes are just some of the troubles that the athletes face in the dorms.

Ominously, the bed of a defending Indian Commonwealth Gold Medalist boxer Akhil Kumar collapsed when he sat on it. No heavyweight, Kumar competes in the 54 kg division.

Of course, a world record or two could always offset such organizational troubles by putting the spotlight back on the athletes. Unfortunately, with Usain Bolt declining to compete, and some nations contemplating a withdrawal, the competition itself is beginning to look as watered-down as the infrastructure.

By Joe Hammond
Contributing Writer to

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