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India set for another sports disaster: Cloud over Goa's Lusofonia Games

September 11, 2013 16:54 IST

The third edition of the Lusofonia Games in Goa, scheduled to begin in November 2, is in danger of being called off due to the state government's failure to complete projects related to the event on time.

The missed deadlines and shoddy state of preparedness have left the infrastructure in complete mess for the international multi-sport event.

It has been learnt that the Association of the Portuguese Speaking Olympic Committees (ACOLOP) president Alex Vong and the designated chef-de-missions of the participating countries will be arriving in Panaji on September 15 to inspect the venues besides taking a call on the Games' future in a meeting with the Lusofonia Games Organising Committee (LUGOC).

The BJP-led Goa government has been battling hard to make the city ready for the Games. All infrastructure for the Games must be ready by October 1, a month before the kick-off.

The LUGOC is also dealing with lack of interest on part of the participating nations while there are suggestions to conduct the Games next year in January or February.

Despite winning the bid to host the third edition way back in 2009, precious little has been done to improve the current state of sports infrastructure in the state.

It has to be noted that most of the work is being supervised by bureaucrats and officials who do not have expertise or technical knowledge to conduct the Games.

"No safety measures in stadiums are put in place as the work is still going on. Not a single stadium has a doping laboratory. The volleyball and basketball courts are also not ready," said an official.

"The work at athletic stadiums in Bambolim and Mapusa and Nehru Stadium in Fatorda is undergoing renovation while the Indoor stadium at Taleigao too has missed deadline. The screening of volunteers has not taken place as yet," the official added.

The co-ordinating panel that ACOLOP formed to check the state's preparedness too did not have encouraging words for the organisers when it toured the city in June. The athletes from the participating nations are scheduled to arrive in Goa in October.

The International Olympic Committee's decision to stay its ban on the Indian Olympic Association for not adhering to the Olympic charter and keeping out chargesheeted officials from holding office has also been cited as one of the reasons for the Games being postponed or cancelled all together.

But it has been learnt that Lusofonia Games doesn't form a part of the IOC's calendar of sporting events and the suspension of the IOA could not be cited as an excuse by the organisers.

Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar has called a meeting of the Goa Olympic Asociation and LUGOC to take stock of the situation.

The Lusofonia Games has always been in news for all the wrong reasons after the state government awarded the contract for laying the athletic tracks to a Delhi-based private company, which has been booked by the CBI in one of the cases related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam.

This was after Organising Committee chairman Shripad Yasso Naik resigned following the appointment of tainted Commonwealth Games official, Rajkumar Sacheti as an advisor for the November 2-10 event along with V V Saxena.

Lusofonia Games is a multi-sport event organised by the ACOLOP, which involves athletes of Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) countries, namely those belonging to the CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries), and also others where there are significant Portuguese communities or that have a common past with the Iberian country.

Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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