New Delhi: Terming the 2010 Commonwealth Games a "nightmare", Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi on Friday said the event is being remembered more for its controversies, which denied the nation the pride it got from the performance of its athletes.
"What a nightmare it was, something we should have been proud of, that pride was denied to the nation... Unfortunately we did not get any time to bask in the glory of its success. Few days after the games, raids and inquiries were ordered," he said after releasing a book on preparation for the mega event.
Authored by former deputy director general of Organising Committee (OC) HP Singh Rishi, "Sports Scare - The Ghost that Haunted CWG Delhi" narrates his 15-month stint with the organisation.
The Chief Election Commissioner says it is unfortunate that the event is remembered more for its controversies.
Applauding the performance of Indian athletes who won 101 medals in various sporting events, he said, "Fortunately our sportspersons brought the glory. The bitterness was, I would not say was entirely erased from our memory, but it was compensated by the excellent performance by sportsmen."
Qureshi was the Secretary in the Union Sports Ministry for a brief period during 2005-06. "I was the Sports Secretary in 2005-06, fortunately for few months only, the organisers would come and tell me how it is going to be a profitable venture. I had told them if it is a profitable venture why are you breaking your heads with bureaucrats and why don't you go to a bank," he said.
Over delay in completion of various CWG projects, he said, "The alarm bells were already ringing, proposals were signed in 2003 and even in 2006 the things were very very slow."
Qureshi also expressed his doubt over involvement of people with vested interested who knowingly delayed the projects.
"Sometimes we felt that there were vested interests who wanted things to be delayed and then come with emergency clauses, offering special rates as the time was very short," Qureshi said.
On the inquiries which were ordered soon after the event was over, he said it dampened the enthusiasm generated by the sportsperson.
"Unfortunately we did not get any time to bask in the glory of the success. Days after the games, raids and inquiries were ordered. Enthusiasm which was generated by the performance was dampened.
"Straight away we went into the controversy. We did not get any day to enjoy and that is why we remember the Games not for the Games but for the controversies," he said. Hoping a memorable performance by Indian athletes in the London Olympics, Qureshi said, "India is already becoming a country to be counted among sporting nations. We are looking forward to success in the Olympics."
Indian Chef de Mission for the Olympics Ajit Pal Singh, who was also present during the book launch, also termed the CWG a "black spot" on country's face.
"We all know the hard-earned money of this nation which was spent so badly on the event. Ultimately we have a black spot on our face. We were really very very late with the preparations," he said.
The whole nation knows what happened, even before a week of the Games our projects were not completed and ultimately it was a total disaster, Singh said.
On performance from the Indian team in the Olympics, he assured they will perform better than the previous events and will be able to get more medals. "I am sure we can do better. Let's hope we get another medal from hockey also," he said.