With a few days to go before the start of the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi, all I can think about is bathrooms. Images of the insanitary facilities at the Athletes Village have been splashed all over the world's media, as India's very own DIY disaster unfolds. I'm not a fan of soap operas (or "continuing dramas" as they're known in TV circles) but this compelling saga of organisational ineptitude and political points-scoring really takes some beating.
Then there's the outbreak of schadenfreude that could prove even more dangerous to the Games than the dengue fever that's laid low a couple of Indian cyclists. If they awarded medals for sabotaging sporting events, administrators, politicians, and reporters would have the mosquitoes beaten hands down.
Let's be honest, paw prints and unidentified brown substances in the athletes' quarters are the least of the problems affecting these Games. Last week a footbridge linking a car park with Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed, injuring more than 20 people. Now analysts at Control Risks have warned visitors of a heightened security threat in the rest of the country, because resources have been deployed to protect the main Games venues.
With Her Majesty the Queen otherwise engaged, does anyone really care whether these Games should be officially opened by Prince Charles, or India's President Pratibha Devisingh Patil? Instead of squabbling about protocol, they might as well get someone to dress up like Shera, the cartoon tiger who is the official mascot for the event. According to the official website, "Shera is also a large-hearted gentleman who loves making friends and enthusing people to come out and play." To me, he looks like a slightly more timid version of Tony, the ebullient cartoon cat who adorns cartons of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.
Surely the elephant (or the tiger) in the room here, is whether there's still a place for these "friendly games" in an increasingly crowded sporting calendar. Watching sport in the 70s, it still felt as though the pursuit of Olympic gold was a really big deal. Now we live in an age in which World Championships in one sport or another seem to be an almost weekly occurrence. For me, the blue riband events in any Olympics have always been swimming and track and field. But since 1993, FINA ("Water is Our World") has been holding the short course World Championships every two years, while the IAAF's World Championships in Athletics started as a four yearly event in 1983 and are now held biennially.