Mumbai, Feb 10: The overreaction to security issue and the decision to keep spectators away spoiled the cycling event during the Delhi Commonwealth Games, International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid said today.
"The UCI was involved with the organisers in the build up to the Commonwealth Games though I was not personally there. I felt cycling was spoiled following an over-reaction to security," McQuaid told PTI in an interview here."A bigger crowd could have been allowed. But I feel it was due to lack of experience. With more experience such things would not have happened," he said.
"However, the successful organisation of the CWG, would act as catalyst not just for cycling but for other sports as well. Otherwise it has been only cricket, cricket, cricket in India. But India will have to continue to organise big tournaments to reap the fruit of the Commonwealth Games."
McQuaid further said that it was disappointing to see that the world-class velodrome built for the Games, has not been used even once by the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) once the Games were over.
"It''s a shame that the velodrome has not been used by the CFI," he said adding that the CFI, in association with the Asian Cycling Confederation, should try to organise more competitions in the valedrome.
"However, the organisation of big events would have no point without development at the grassroots," he said.
The country''s first timber track cycling velodrome, with a seating capacity of 3200 people, constructed at an expense of Rs 150 crore, was inaugurated just before the Commonwealth Games after many delays.
It eventually took 17 months to build the stadium, which has been certified by the UCI as category 1 velodrome. More PTI VKV AT
McQuaid said the UCI was trying to popularise cycling as a sport in India, which is a great market but not much has been done in this regard either by them or CFI.
"It would be fair to say that cycling has not been developed in India and one of the reasons is the UCI itself.
But now our mission is to globalise the sport. We have developed links with the CFI. I could be honest to say that CFI should be more active in developing the sport.""The UCI is willing to take deserving Indians at its headquarters at Aigle in Switzerland, where we have regular development courses if they are prepared to come to us. They can come back and spread their knowledge in the country," he added.
"The other method (to popularise cycling) would be to organise events. UCI sees huge potential to develop the sport in India. But it cannot happen overnight."
However, McQuaid ruled out any help in the form of funding to the CFI.
"The UCI is working in 175 countries and there is not much funding. We are not rich like the FIFA or the ICC. The funding would have to come from India," he added.
The UCI chief said events like the Tour de Mumbai would help attract more spectators in the country."Lot of people in India follow the Tour de France. Top teams like Radio Shack are participating in the event. The fans will get to know these teams besides the event will attract great media coverage as well. 10-12 people kids sitting (there) may find this exciting and take up the sport," he added.