New Delhi's preparations for next year's Commonwealth Games have received a much-needed boostafter Victoria's Premier John Brumby gave them a ringing endorsement.
The build-up to the event, the biggest to be held in India for more than quarter-of-a-century, has been overshadowed by security fears and the slow progress on building venues and infrastucture.
But Brumby, who was Victoria's State Treasurer when Melbourne hosted the last Commonwealth Games in 2006, has praised the preparations and given New Delhi encouragement as the one year to go anniversary approaches.
During a visit New Delhi, Brumby told Suresh Kalmadi, who is the chairman of the organising committee of the Games, he said: "I must say I am very impressed with what I have seen.
"I am sure that you will have a very successful Games next year.
"It will be good for Delhi and for India and great for the Commonwealth."
Melbourne was one of the sites considered last year when there were fears that the Games might have to be removed from India and given to another city.
Brumby said: ''I know there has been some speculation about whether projects would be competed on time, or whether they wouldn't.
"But as an outsider coming in and seeing the level of progress here, I couldn't be more impressed.''
Brumby visited Games venues such as the National Stadium and Thyagaraj Stadium during his visit.
He said: "Ties between Victoria and India have been further strengthened as Victorians work shoulder to shoulder with India's Commonwealth Games organising team to deliver the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
"Like all Victorians, especially our athletes, I am looking forward to the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
"The 2006 Games were a huge success for Victoria and I am sure these Games will be a triumph for Delhi and the organising committee."
Brumby he said he had not forgotten the cultural show Delhi had put up at the closing ceremony of the Melbourne Games.
He said: "It was spectacular with more than 1,000 participants representing Delhi.
"I will always remember that and the handover.
"The friendships formed then between Melbourne and Delhi are so good, so strong and so enduring."
The Games are due to open in New Delhi on October 3 and last until October 14.
Article courtesy of Inside the Games.