South Asia

Doubts cast over India's ability to stage Olympics

Indian policeman stands guard beside a banner for the 2010 Commonwealth Games outside a hotel in New Delhi on 1 October 2010
Image caption There were initial complaints about the condition of the athletes' village at the Commonwealth Games

A leading Commonwealth Games official has cast doubt on Delhi's ability to host the 2020 Olympics.

The possibility of launching a bid has been mooted by sports leaders in India. Olympic President Jacques Rogge indicated he would support the idea.

But Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive Mike Hooper said it might be too soon.

The Indian capital suffered a series of setbacks in its preparations for this year's Commonwealth Games.

Widespread problems

The Games are one of the world's biggest multi-sports events.

Dirty accommodation, unsafe venues and stories of corrupt officials dominated the headlines in the build-up to them.

But it did not stop International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge from suggesting the Indian capital had laid the foundations for an Olympic bid.

And despite the widespread problems, Indian sports leaders have frequently spoken of their desire to bring the Olympics to Delhi.

But Mr Hooper - whose job it was to monitor the city's preparations for the Commonwealth Games - advised them not to rush into things.

"The reality is [that] in time I think they [will] have the capacity, [but] I think that would be a big ask of India at this time," he said.

India's reputation as organisers of such major sports events could suffer further damage when the results of an investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the Commonwealth Games are revealed.

But there is a growing recognition that India, a country of 1.2 billion people, will one day stage the Olympics. It is one of the few market places the Olympics has not broken into.

And, as demonstrated at the Commonwealth Games in which India finished second in the medals table, its population has discovered and taken up sports other than cricket.

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