Stephen Smith appreciates Commonwealth Games preparations

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New Delhi, Oct 14 (ANI): Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Wednesday expressed his satisfaction with the preparations, including security set up for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be staged in New Delhi.

After visiting the various sports facilities here, Smith said that he was confident that India would stage a 'first class' Commonwealth Games on time.

He dismissed media reports, which said that games preparations are lagging behind vis-'-vis various aspects.

" I have seen some commentaries, which say, we worry about the facility being behind the schedule. These comments are always made in the run up to any Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games. The same was said in Melbourne in the run up to Commonwealth Games. The same was said in the run up to Sydney Olympic Games. So, these things are always said and in the end, you always find facilities are always ready for Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games," said Smith.

About security arrangements for the mega sporting event to be held next year in October, Smith said that Australia is confident with the kind of measures India is taking to tackle and thwart any possible militant strike.

" We have also been briefed on security arrangements. We are being closely consulted as other Commonwealth countries are. We are confident that India is taking all the necessary precautions and arrangements," he added.

Earlier, some of the officials of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had expressed concern over New Delhi's preparedness to hold the Games next year.

Mike Fennell, President of the CGF had written to Games organisers expressing concern at their reluctance to hire foreign experts and the tardy progress of work.

He also sought an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to help 'revive' the games preparations.

While touring the various sports facilities being readied for the Commonwealth Games, Smith announced that three hockey scholarships to budding players-one each for woman and male hockey players and a hockey coach are being offered by Australia. (ANI)

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