CGF Lists Problems, Kalmadi Says 'Everything Fine'

New Delhi
CGF Lists Problems, Kalmadi Says 'Everything Fine'
Bungled ticket sales, corruption of data in the online Information System and transportation problems continue to dog the Commonwealth Games, CGF boss Michael Fennell said today even as OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi insisted that "generally things are in place."

The daily media briefing, where Kalmadi made an appearance after two days, had Fennell once again listing the glitches that are plaguing the event, which today entered its second week.

"We get a lot of complaints about people being unable to buy tickets," said Fennell, adding "we continue to receive reports on ticketing. Attendance at wrestling, boxing and tennis has been quite good."

And in a bid to fill in the "empty" stands, Fennell said the organisers have now agreed to allow athletes to enter whatever events they want to watch through their accreditation cards.

"We have received assurances that athletes will be allowed to go to whichever venue they want for whatever event they want to see. This would satisfy the athletes' request which had come to us," he said.

But Kalmadi assured Fennell that the ticketing problems are being sorted out.

"The crowds are flocking the stadiums. Boxing, wrestling and swimming have been full but we can do better in archery and shooting. We have printed 10 per cent extra tickets and we are distributing them free to stakeholders. Generally things are in place," he said.

The head of ticketing for the event, Monica Jolly, was also present at the briefing and she laid the blame for the empty stands on the corporates who did not turn up after making bulk purchases.

"India has a late market where people buy their tickets at the last minute. Obviously we couldn't have waited that long to start the sales. So we began sales in June and there was lots of bulk buying by corporates for promotional activities but they have not turned up," she explained.

"Some sports such as boxing and wrestling have stadiums with less capacity. So obviously if one lakh people want to watch Vijender Singh or Sushil Kumar, only 2500 or 2700 of them would get in at one go," she said.

The explanations came even as reports emerged that an OC official indulged in black-marketing but Kalmadi said the case involved a mere volunteer, who has been reported to the police.

Another major problem is the dysfunctional Games Information System, which the journalists have had a torrid time dealing with, and Fennell said CGF continues to be dissatisfied with the GIS.

"We are unhappy about the GIS," was Fennell's blunt assessment of the system.

Kalmadi said the GIS has fallen victim to data corruption and has also been undone by the online traffic.

"The GIS had a problem because its server was down due to too much traffic," he said.

"There was corruption of data and the integration of data on the website is also a problem but the system is working well at the individual venues. We have the best in the business to manage the integration of data on the website," added G Rajaraman, Consulting Director with the Games' official website.

To this, Fennell retorted, "There is always a problem with integration. But from our perspective, to have a supplier who doesn't understand the product that is to be delivered is unfortunate."

Fennell also pointed out transportation as a problem adding "we get complaints about transport but these are fairly normal which we see in other Games."

"We also continue to monitor security. One of the important aspects is there is no let up. These are things which can ease off when everything is going fine. We will continue to monitor," he added.

"The athletes Village continues to achieve lot of attention. We have to ensure that there is no let-up. We tend to have a slacking off as we head to the second week and we have to ensure that it does not happen."

Among the aspects he praised, Fennell was appreciative of the work done by volunteers.

"Most of the young volunteers activities have been very positive. Everybody has commended their willingness and cooperation. They go overboard to help the visitors and that has been fantastic," he said.

Kalmadi reiterated that all was well despite the glitches.

"There is close monitoring by the CGF but athletes and officials are happy. There are no complaints on transport as well. Things are now on track," he said.
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