There was immense relief last night when it was confirmed that the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi will be shortened to simply consist of a spectacular and colourful Opening Ceremony followed immediately by an impressive and moving Closing Ceremony.
Organisers decided to pull the plug on the competitive element of the event within hours of the electricity supply finally being connected, citing concerns that firstly the competitors’ accommodation at the Games Village may not stay standing for more than a few more days, and secondly because there’s only so long you can go before a trained monkey security guard cracks and goes for a recuperating athlete eating a banana.
The event, now being dubbed ‘a 15-minute extravaganza celebrating the modern legacy of the old British Empire’, will see pyrotechnics and massive-scale choreographed dance routines, followed by a presentation of the athletes marching around the potholed running track. There will then be a pause for international broadcasters to describe the electric atmosphere in the stadium and patronise local culture, before Prince Charles, representing the Queen as head of the Commonwealth, will declare the Games open, and then shut.
A spokesman for the BBC in Delhi said that the Corporation was not too disappointed at the decision. ‘A lot of our key presenters were already in a lot of trouble at home at the prospect of their sidling off for another fortnight’s jolly when they’ve barely got over their hangovers from partying it up at the World Cup,’ he noted, ‘But don’t worry, BBC standards will be maintained — we’ve already filmed a few Slumdog Millionaire comparison pieces for Children in Need, and if anything big does happen in the next couple of weeks, like a stadium collapsing, there’ll be plenty of coverage we can pick up from YouTube.’
Despite the British public’s outbreak of indifference to the decision Craig Hunter, chef de mission of the England team, said it was a shame that his athletes’ involvement would only amount to a quick trot around the running track. ‘The event’s been unlucky in being plagued with bureaucratic problems, clashes with other important sporting events, and unexpected fever outbreaks, meaning many of the finest competitors the Commonwealth has to offer decided to stay away. But it’s a shame they couldn’t have stuck with it anyway. I mean with no-one else here, I think there was a fair chance we might have actually won something.’
30th September 2010