Racism at Commonwealth Games? Africans upset

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Old 27-Sep-2010
Racism at Commonwealth Games? Africans upset

New Delhi September 27:

South Africa led the charge of the African nations against the shoddy Commonwealth Games preparations on Sunday. As the Delhi government carried out frantic clean-up operations in the Games Village, South Africa set the cat among the pigeons by saying a snake had been found in an athlete's room.

South Africa's high commissioner to India Harris Majeke told reporters a snake had been found in the room of an athlete at the Games Village. "That was really a threat to the lives of our athletes," he said, complaining of filth in the living quarters including basements of the buildings. "When everything is done, then we will ask our teams to come," he added.

The South African criticism is part of a larger grouse of the African nations against organisers of the Commonwealth Games. While the OC has been overly sensitive to the wishes of countries like the UK, Australia and Canada, the African countries found that they had been virtually ignored by the organisers.

The first site visit for the African countries to Games venues was arranged only this week. For months, said sources, African countries have been asking for information from the government, but in vain. Last week was the first time they got any briefing from the ministry of external affairs.

MEA has itself been kept out of the Games preparations, and was brought in virtually at the last minute when the damage control exercise had to be rolled out. Since they are the most familiar point of contact for the African nations, it was particularly frustrating that nobody was telling them anything, least of all the organisers. The first briefing was, sources said, little more than a bare bones briefing, because the MEA itself was not kept on board.

In fact, privately, the word from many African countries is that India was practising the same kind of racism against the African countries that India itself has complained against. Out of the 53 nations in the Commonwealth, there are 19 from the African continent, all of whom are participating in the Games. This week, India will also play host to the president of Mozambique, a member of the Commonwealth, though it used to be a Portuguese colony and not a British one.

On Saturday, a visibly upset high commissioner of Rwanda -- a former Belgian colony and one of the most recent additions to the Commonwealth -- was seen looking for the Indian quarters in the Games Village. "I want to see their quarters. The place they have given us for our accommodation is not clean and my athletes are arriving here tomorrow," was his explanation.

However, India got a vote of confidence from South Africa's Olympic boss. In a statement, Gideon Sam said he would himself clean toilets to ensure the success of the Games. "Our athletes will have no excuses if they do not perform at the Games," Sam, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), said ahead of the team's departure on Sunday.

"If they are unhappy with their rooms because they have not been swept, they must take off their jackets and sweep them themselves. We will not complain. South Africans do not do that," Sam added. "And when I get there on Friday, if a toilet is not clean, I will clean it myself." It only adds to India's shame.

Old 27-Sep-2010
Re: Racism at Commonwealth Games? Africans upset

bura haal aa

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