Monday, 31 August 2009

Nehru Cup: India's biggest football event

India beat Syria 5-4 in a penalty shootout to retain the Nehru Cup on Monday. Nehru Cup is India's only bi-annual international football event.

The game was scoreless after 90 minutes, but India and Syria both scored in extra-time to send the contest to penalties. India won the last Nehru Cup in 2007, also defeating Syria in the final.

The two teams failed to score in regulation time and scored once each in the dying minutes of extra time.

India were first to score when Renedy Singh scored through a free-kick in the 24th minute of extra time, but Ali Dyab came up with a stupendous header in the last minute to sink Indian hopes of a clear-cut victory.

Both teams converted three of their first five penalties before the deadlock was broken when the shootout went to sudden death. Indian players scored on their first two shots and goalkeeper Subrata Paul clinched the issue by saving the second Syrian attempt. Paul in an amazing display of reflexes and anticipation saved three spot kicks in the tie-breaker after.

Click here to read featured article on health of Indian sports.

Laying out table for the event

Food is one of the major preparation items for any big sporting event. As the 2010 Commonwealth Games drawing near, many companies are joining the race along with Indian firms to get Rs 100-crore catering contract of the mega sporting event in the country.

We learn that 27 companies have bid for the Commonwealth Games contract. Out of all the bidders, 4 caterers - Delaware (UK), Global Infusion (UK), Sodexho (France) and ITDC (India) have been shortlisted by the Organizing Committee of the Games.

They will be asked to submit 'request for proposal' (RFP) shortly," said a senior official involved with the catering responsibility.

The selected caterer is expected to provide anywhere between 35,000 to 44,000 meals per day including breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner a day, at the Games Village, during the 10-day sporting extravaganza.

Delhi hotel projects delayed

Commonwealth Games Federation is worried because of delayed projects in Delhi In an assessment report, government of Delhi has indicated that more than 15 hotel projects coming up in Delhi will probably fail to meet the Commonwealth Games deadline of September 2010. This will result in additional pressure on the government which has already been struggling to accommodate guests likely to attend the mega sporting event.

Also, urban development ministry has come up with latest assessment report indicating that 56% of the Games village project is completed by mid-August, and it will be ready by March 2010.

The projects to built/refurbish venues are running about 1-5% behind schedule, but will be fast tracked in next few months.

The delayed hotel projects have planned capacity of 2,400 rooms. In addition to these projects, there are additional projects on track to add 3600 rooms by Commonwealth Games. The government plans to counter the shortage by releasing about 2,500 DDA flats at Jasola and Vasant Kunj. The flats will be fully furnished and will be offered to visitors.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

35,000 meals a day..!!

2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games food arrangements Delhi is getting ready to play host to 71 countries in upcoming Commonwealth Games in 2010... and when you are in India, food can't be very far away..!!

It is expected that Delhi is ready to show its culinary skills as it prepares to serve more than 35,000 meals per day to about 10,000 guests from 71 counties. The catering division of the Commonwealth Games organizing committee is now busy working out the logistics.

Catering for the event will be divided into food clusters depending on the nutritional requirements of athletes. The menu will feature cuisine from all over the world. Each venue will offer specific “athlete venue meals” based on the requirement of participants of the event being hosted.

Water vending machines will be place strategically in the area with juices, energy drinks and cold drinks to be made available in the main dining hall, casual dining halls and carts.

During the main meals in the Games Village, there will also be special food surprises for the players like a birthday cake or a food corner showcasing Indian delicacies. Every food item will bear a tag listing ingredients and nutritional value of the item.

The Commonwealth Games will be held in India for the first time on October 3 to 14 next year. This will be the largest multi-sport event conducted in the country, previously it hosted the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982.

Courtesy: The Times of India

Friday, 28 August 2009

India to review security with Commonwealth

The government of India has convened a meeting of Heads of Missions of 71 Commonwealth countries here on 9-September to allay their security fears for the 2010 games.

Top security experts in the country will brief the envoys about the steps being taken by the government to ensure foolproof security during the fortnight-long extravaganza so that they could convey the message back home, a top Home Ministry official today said.

Home Minister P Chidambaram is likely to address the Heads of Missions at the meeting.

A two-day meeting of security commanders of the Commonwealth countries will also be held here on 23-Sep and 24-Sep for a similar exercise. The meeting will be chaired by Home Secretary.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

24-Aug: Poster free day

With focus on upcoming Commonwealth Games, MCD has launched a drive to rid the city of posters and declared Aug 24 as Poster Free Day.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) said on Thursday that their team managed to remove 8,000 posters in a single day. Attempting to make Delhi’s walls free from posters and handbills, According to Additional Deputy Commissioner Amiya Chandra, 400 MCD staffers in 12 zones in coordination with 14 traders associations and several resident welfare associations (RWA) swung into action and were 'very successful'.

Municipal Commissioner K.S. Mehra said that the campaign was launched “to make the city look clean and beautiful ahead of the Commonwealth Games scheduled in October 2010″.

Interestingly, there is a reason behind the timing of MCD’s defacement drive.

“The decision was taken because it is monsoon season, the posters or hand bills or pamphlets stuck on the walls of the public properties get soggy and can be easily removed,” Mehra explained.

Now that we have made an attempt, residents should on their own have the urge to remove a poster. We all walk the city, so when out on a morning walk, rip one off. All it needs is each person to remove one poster”.

Under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act 2007, defacement of public property or walls is a cognizable offence and doing so can warrant imprisonment for a term up to one year or fine of Rs.50,000.

Fiji faces expulsion from Commonwealth

Fiji faces expulsion from Commonwealth and suspension from 2010 Games Fiji's future in global politics appears more and more uncertain as its military regime has declined to hold elections any time soon. This may result in Fiji being expelled from group of .

The Commonwealth has set a deadline of 1-Sep for Frank Bainimarama, Fiji's self-appointed prime minister, to announce a return to democracy this decade or be cut off from all aid and banned from the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Fiji is already facing expulsion from the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum over its failure to announce a reasonable election date. If it is suspended from the Commonwealth, Fiji's military leaders will be barred from all inter-governmental Commonwealth meetings. It will also lose access to Commonwealth advice and technical assistance and member states will be encouraged to limit government-to-government contact with the country.

Bainimarama initially invited the Commonwealth to send a special envoy for talks this week aimed at keeping the South Pacific country in the organisation of Britain and its former colonies. He said he wanted a Commonwealth team to visit Fiji to get a "better picture" of the situation, but the two sides could not agree on a date.

Bainimarama, who ousted the elected government in a 2006 coup, has repeatedly said he will not call elections before 2014 so he can first fundamentally reform the country's electoral system and root out what he called endemic corruption.

Fiji has suffered four coups since 1987, prompting international sanctions each time and suspension from the Commonwealth twice.

The last country to be suspended from the group was Pakistan. The country was expelled for six months from 22 November 2007 when General Pervez Musharraf called a state of emergency. Suspended members are not represented at meetings of Commonwealth leaders and ministers, although they remain members of the organization.
Click here to read all articles on this topic.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Security arrangements: Leaving nothing to chance

Delhi government is keen to secure Delhi before the 2010 Commonwealth Games and is looking at every minute detail. This is evident from the fact that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is considering a proposal to acquire "bomb-proof" garbage bins from the UK. The bins will be built with a special material that can contain the impact of any explosion.

The bins will be of 1000-litre capacity and will cost approximately Rs 50,000 each. The civic agency is planning to put up some bins at sensitive points on a "trial basis". Terrorists used large garbage bins to plant bombs during the serial blasts in Delhi on September 13 2008 that killed 26 people and injured 133 others. After that, the MCD toyed with ideas like transparent bins to prevent such incidents from occurring again.

BE apologizes for pullout from Badminton championship

The English Badminton federation has offered apology to India for pulling out of the World Badminton Championship held in Hyderabad from August 10 to 16, following perceived security threat. The same was communicated by British Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe to his Indian counterpart M.S. Gill.

The apology is being seen as a moral victory for India. India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram had then said that England’s decision had left him “burning inside”, since it seemed to question India’s capacity to provide adequate security to visiting sports team.

A Sports Ministry official said Sutcliffe called Gill on Friday and assured him of England’s support when Delhi hosts the Commonwealth Games next year. Adrian Christy, chief executive of Badminton England (BE) said the English shuttlers are looking forward to visiting India in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Coming up: Hot air ballooning in NCR

New attractions for tourists visiting India for 2010 Commonwealth Games
In a bid to cash-in on upcoming Commonwealth Games and promote adventure tourism, Haryana government is working to introduce facilities for hot air ballooning at Suraj Kund, Damdama and Badkhal lakes. State tourism ministry has already floated tenders in this regard.

Currently, there is no permanent venue for hot air ballooning in the NCR and this move will boost tourism in the region. Also, the operators will be able to break even quickly because of huge rush of tourists expected next year. The spots shortlisted are favorite picnic spots and have excellent connectivity with Delhi. Government has zeroed on two licensed players who have experience in commercial hot ballooning. The arrangements will be on on public-private partnership (PPP) basis. Meanwhile, State tourism department has also prepared a plan to set up temporary tents for tourists at the three sites in Faridabad during Commonwealth Games.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Bolt strikes again: Shatters 200m record

Usain Bolt's dream run continued at world championships as he shattered his own 200m world record. Usain slashed 0.11 sec off the time he set in Beijing, running in a time of 19.19 seconds. Earlier this week he also brought down his 100m record from 9.69 seconds to 9.58sec (Video: Usain Bolt breaking 100 m record), the exact same cut he achieved in 200m.

Bolt, who completed his 200m win a day before his 23rd birthday, set three world records when winning his Olympic golds in Beijing last summer and his breathtaking performances in Berlin have enhanced his reputation as the best sprinter of all time. Interestingly, at the post event ceremony, Bolt confessed that he was not 100% during the 200m run. "Maybe next time I should just run the 200m or the 100m alone," he added. "My form was going backwards. I wasn't running upright. It wasn't a good race but it was a fast one."

Bolt had one false start but got off the blocks quickly and opened up an easy, early lead which was enough for him to take him to the finish line. His nearest competitor was Alonso Edward, who finished with a time of 19.81 seconds while the American Wallace Spearmon took the bronze with 19.85 seconds.

His scintillating performance has led a few people to question if he is taking any performance enhancement supplements. However, Bolt insists that the only reason for the same is hard work and discipline.

Click here to read more about Usain Bolt. You can also find info about fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Commonwealth Games 2010: Bamboo Curtains

As is case with any aspiring nation, low cost dwellings and slums are part of Indian metros. The disparity in income of those who have broken shackles and those who have just unearthed the secret, drive later to the economic hubs. The price they pay for their aspirations is a compromise of living standards, resulting in mushrooming slums. Delhi is NO DIFFERENT..!!

Low cost dwellings simply represent a class of economic transition which is making an attempt for better future. However, it sometimes present not so pretty picture. So what's the solution..!! Well, you certainly can't remove it. How about covering it and presenting a slightly better picture..!! The same can be seen in the plans of the government which is preparing enthusiastically for commonwealth games.

Realizing that uprooting slum clusters from all over the capital and rehabilitating its inhabitants is not a pragmatic solution, Delhi government has decided to screen the not-so-welcoming sights from the many visitors expected for the event.

Similar moves were made in Beijing during last year’s Olympics when screens were put up before not so pretty sections of the city which the authorities did not want the millions of visitors to China to see. Giant screens are also seen in several cities in Latin America to block out ugly sights from visitors.

However, living the theme of GREEN Games, Delhi's approach is innovative yet simple. The department of agriculture has decided to plant bamboo trees which can be used to screen the shanties and slums on the roadside of all those routes through which the Commonwealth convoy is expected to go.

Numerous preparations are under way to make the event a success giving all flyovers an aesthetic look, improving connectivity, increasing room availability, rehabilitating dwellers away from the Games site. It seems, Delhi is focussed on addressing as many issues as possible. Bamboo screening is one such innovative and practical approach.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Queen's Baton Relay: CWG tradition

The Queen's Baton Relay, similar to the Olympic Torch Relay, is held around the world prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games.

The Queen's Baton Relay was introduced at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. The relay begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city's Commonwealth Day festivities.

The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner. This year, the relay will start on 29-Oct.

At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games.

The Relay for the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was the first to travel to other nations of the Commonwealth. Till then, the relay only went through England and the host nation. The 2002 Relay covered over 100,000 kilometers and went through 23 nations. The Baton Relay for 2006 Melbourne Olympics was most inclusive of all covering around 180,000 kilometers covering all 71 nations.

Monday, 17 August 2009

I can run faster: Usain Bolt

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has said that he is targeting the 9.4-second barrier for the 100m after setting a new world record at the World Championships. The 22-year-old recorded a time of 9.58 seconds as he raced to a sensational victory in Berlin last night. Bolt's coach Glen Mills had predicted after the Olympics that his runner could make 9.54 and was nearly proved right.

"I think it will stop at 9.4, but you never know," said the Jamaican.

"I'm going to run hard. I think it's going to be even more difficult because I just took Tyson's 100m title, so I know he's going to come after me. I'm just going to do my best like I always do. You can always expect me to go out and run my heart out. It's going to be fun."

Fun certainly seems to be the buzz-word around Bolt, who is happy to laugh and joke with his competitors and the crowd until the very last seconds before the start of a race.

And the star has no plans to change this relaxed approach.

"I train all year round to run the 100m, so I know what I've got to do. When I go in the blocks, I know what's necessary, so, for me, I can have all the fun I want before the race."

However, Bolt is wary of overcelebrating while he still has his favoured event - the 200m - to come in Berlin.

"I came out here to do my best and I did what I had to do," he said. "There'll be no partying for me ahead of Tuesday. I'll rest up as always. I need to rest up for the 200m."Click here to read more about Usain Bolt.

World Badminton Championship's security arrangements get thumbs up

India's city of Hyderabad played host to 2009 World Badminton Championship quite under the glare of media men from around the world. Over 350 players from 42 countries participated in the seven-day event that came to an end Sunday.

The Badminton championship got-off to a controversial start as England pulled out of the tournament citing threat to the players. This was followed by 2 Austrian players pulling out a couple of days later for similar reasons.

This left organizers of the event to prove a point regarding their capability to host a world class tournament.

Under the security plan prepared by experts, 1,000 security personnel, including 45 armed guards trained in anti-terror operations, were deployed during the event. Most of the teams participating in the tournament confirmed that the arrangements were excellent.

In response to the England's pullout, Indian authorities had clarified that there is no particular threat to the tournament or players. The hype was created only by certain local media men speculating about the security on India's Independence Day on 15-Aug-2009, coinciding with the penultimate day of the tournament.

Indian government really pulled it off when on last day Home minister P Chidambaram stood in queue, purchased a ticket from the counter and watched the finals of the World Badminton championship from the spectators gallery on Sunday to send a symbolic message after England pulled out citing security reasons following alleged terror threat to the event.

Chidambaram's action seen as an attempt to prove a point that there is no threat to the premier event flew into Hyderabad by a scheduled commercial flight and proceeded in a private car to Gachibowli stadium , a 15-minute drive, unannounced. The Minister, who was without any security cover, was on a "private' visit to the city, official sources said in New Delhi. The Home Minister bought a Rs 1,000 ticket and proceeded to watch the finals of the Championships from the spectators gallery before he was spotted by the tournament organizers.

The successful hosting of World Badminton Championship will boost confidence of participating countries regarding security at Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in Oct 2010. The Government of India is already working on specific plans to ensure that the tournament will be as smooth as Badminton championships.

'Lightning' Bolt at Commonwealth 2010..!!

Usain Bolt at 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games
Jamaican sprint king, Usain Bolt, celebrated anniversary of his triumph at Beijing Olympics in style by breaking his own world record in men 100-meter race at the World Championships in Berlin's Olympic Stadium. It was exactly on this day a year ago he became Olympic 100m Champion. Then many thought that a peak for 100m has been set for some time to come. Breaking that myth Bolt completed the distance in just 9.58 seconds, cutting his own previous record by a WHOPPING 0.11 sec.

In May 2008, when most of the world had not yet heard of Bolt or seen his signature pose of the same name, the record, held by fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, stood at an impressive 9.74 seconds. In little more than a year, Bolt has broken it three times, cutting 0.16 second off the total and saving the biggest cut for Sunday night here.

US world champion, Tyson Gay, claimed the silver in 9.71 seconds and former world record holder, Asafa Powell of Jamaica took the bronze (We do not find it necessary to mention the time).

The focus now shifts to 200m event. It remains to be seen if Bolt can repeat his performance at the event scheduled for later this week. Lately, he has indicated that he is getting tired.

Bolt, current Olympic and World Champion said he was tempted to complete his collection by running in the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in New Delhi in October of 2010.

"I think I will be going to the Commonwealth Games; my coach will decide. I think it's going to be at the end of the season, so it depends on how long I race next season."

Click here to read what fellow Jamaican and former world champion Asafa Powell has to say about Commonwealth Games.

Watch Asafa Powell's Gold Medal run at 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games village ready by March 2010

As the time of Commonwealth games is coming closer, Government of Delhi is speeding up its work to develop sports venues to keep itself prepared well in advance before this mega event. Government officials have confirmed that the Commonwealth games village will be ready by March 2010, seven months ahead of the scheduled start. Games village will be fully equipped with all modular facilities so that the Athletes and their supporting staff can get ultimate comfort.

The organizing committee along with Government of Delhi is striving hard to make the capital city of India into a well-organized and fully equipped city for the upcoming games.

The games site is located perfectly in the centre of the city near the major landmarks of the city including Akshardham, Bahai temple and Humayun Tomb.

The village is located on the banks of holy River Yamuna and the dense green cover in the surroundings will provide a soothing and pleasing environment for the athletes.

The village is constructed over an area of 63.5 hectares under the guidance of Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The village will accommodate 8500 athletes and their supporting staff for the event scheduled for October 2010.

Tourism and Infra to get a boost

The Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in the first two weeks of October 2010, are set to change the face of Delhi and NCR. With approximately a million tourists expected to land in India to watch the grand spectacle, the push will be great for the Indian tourism industry.

Delhi has hosted the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982. This is the first time Delhi is playing host to the commonwealth games. Infact, this is only the second time that the games are being held in Asia.

Read article, Delhi: City of flyovers

Not only are the Games going to benefit the Indian tourism industry in a big way, these are also going to boost various job opportunities in sectors like hospitality, travel, aviation, services, who are going to hire more employees in order to handle the large influx of tourists.

There are various challenges in front of Commonwealth games organizing committee like ensuring accommodation requirements. For this the government is considering innovative options like registering Bead and Breakfast service providers, and even considering camping options in NCR to augment the current hotel development projects.

Delhi government is also serious about providing comfortable commute to the visitors. 10 of the 11 Commonwealth Games venue will be linked by Metro in time for the games. City will also have a dedicated Metro line from the airport to Cannaught Place.

A four-lane, 2.2 km underground stretch from Ring Road to Lodhi will link the Games Village to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, reducing traveling time for athletes. The new eight-lane expressway from Gurgaon to Delhi is already functional. Government is in the process of procuring another 1,100 new low floor, high-capacity air-conditioned buses to ease commuting.

Infact, all the efforts being put in by Delhi government are beginning to show results. Today, Delhi has a world class Metro transportation. More than 100 flyovers have come up in last 8 years. Movement at all focal points of Delhi like Dhaula Kuan, AIIMS, and connectivity to NOIDA has been smoothened out. The pollution levels in Delhi are much less than what they were 10 years ago. The city has new GREEN LOOK because of millions of trees planted along the roads. Infact, Green and Pink are the new colours chosen by the government for the city.

All in all, the tourism and infrastructure are set to get a huge boost because of the Games.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Delhi Metro to be ready for 2010 Commonwealth Games!

Delhi Metro chief E. Sreedharan has committed that all their projects would be completed before the Commonwealth Games next year.

DMRC confirmed that recent mishap will not have any delay whatsoever on the overall completion of the Delhi Metro projects. Ongoing Phase-II of the Delhi Metro will provide easy Metro connectivity to 10 of the 11 venues of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Delhi Metro is currently operating on various routes totalling 70 km across Delhi.

Recent assertion from the Metro management comes as a good news for foreign and domestic tourists planning to visit India on the occasion of commonwealth games. The ride to different games venues will be smoother and tourists will be traveling in a truly world class mode of transport.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Delhi's new Carpool Scheme

Commuting/Traveling in Delhi during Commonwealth Games Delhi government plans to launch the Pan City Mega Carpool Scheme before the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The ride sharing scheme aims to provide a simple way to encourage car owners to share their vehicles with other car owners, thereby resulting in fewer cars on city roads. It has been proposed to enroll thousands of car owners, subject to verification of their credentials, into a single mega carpool and issue the members secure, smart identity cards as well.

The member cars will be fitted with a special hardware device comprising of a card reader, global positioning system (GPS) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). The device can read the smart card based photo identity card of a member, sense the location of the car and transmit this data digitally to a central agency. The rider will only be required to tap the smart ID card at the beginning as well as the end of the ride and all the information regarding the driver and the rider would be sent to the central server. A member of the carpool scheme may give a ride to any of the enrolled members who have a common or along-the-way travel destination. By giving rides, the member will earn mileage points which can be redeemed as cash or family members can avail of them by using the car pools.

According to the transport department, almost 50 to 60 per cent of the road space is used by an estimated two million car owners in Delhi, although they meet just 20 per cent of the commuting demand.

The scheme will ensure safety of the passengers as a central server will keep track of all shared rides, including vehicle number and owner and the time a particular rider boards the car.

The scheme, if successful will augument Delhi's improving public transport infrastructure which includes Metro and BRT scheme. However, it remains to be seen whether Delhi will accept this scheme considering its high crime rate.

Click here to read articles related to Delhi Metro.

Video: Delhi Metro

No Wi-Fi at Commonwealth Games 2010

Security arrangements to ensure tourist safety during 2010 Delhi Commonwealth GamesDelhi government has dropped the idea of providing high-speed Internet services through Wi-Fi across the city for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The move has come after it was felt that wireless fidelity (WiFi) is not a fool-proof mechanism in view of militants using it to co-ordinate and carry out attacks.

However, travellers visiting Delhi for Commonwealth Games need not worry about missing on important e-mails and communication. Delhi has one of the world's largest density of Cybercaf├ęs with usage rates as low as $0.50/hour.

Visitors are advised to carry a photo identification with them as it is now mandatory in India to present the same while logging on to internet from Cybercafe.

Camping at Commonwealth Games 2010

India's Ministry of Tourism has informed that they will explore the possibilities for tent accommodation in Delhi during 2010 Commonwealth Games. The decision is taken partly to make the games more exciting for spectators and also Good accommodation and travel arrangements for 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games to boost tourismconsidering estimated shortfall of hotel rooms required for the tourists during the Commonwealth Games 2010 in the National Capital Region (NCR) . According to sources, discussions were held recently at the last tourism stakeholders meeting.

Representatives of the hotel associations have asked the Ministry to set up luxury tents as an alternative mode of accommodation. A few luxury tent operators from Pushkar, Rajasthan have shown interest and have approached the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI). The tent operators want to set up tents if suitable land is available for a one-month period.

However, sources revealed that, representatives of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as well as Urban Development Ministry have not taken up the proposal officially under the pretext that suitable land may not be available in Delhi for camping. At the same time, Keshni Anand Arora, Secretary, Haryana Tourism has evinced interest in the proposal and agreed to explore suitable land for the same in Gurgaon.

History of the 'Friendly Games'

The concept of a united Commonwealth sporting event was coined during rebirth of the Olympic Games, and was first formally propagated by Reverend Astley Cooper in The Times newspaper in 1891.

In 1911, the 'Festival of Empire' was held in London to celebrate the coronation of King George V. As part of the festivities, an Inter-Empire Championships was held in which teams from Commonwealth Nations including Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom competed in events such as boxing, wrestling, swimming and athletics. A trophy in the form of a silver cup, 2ft 6in high and weighing 340oz, the gift of Lord Lonsdale, was presented to the winning country, which was Canada.

The first practical steps were taken to organise the British Empire Games in 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Mr M. M. (Bobby) Robinson of Canada called a meeting of representatives of all Empire countries, and made the proposal that the British Empire Games should be held. The first British Empire (Commonwealth) Games were held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada where 11 countries took part. In total 400 athletes represented their respective countries in 6 sports and 59 events.

The Games have been conducted every four years except for 1942 and 1946 when they were disrupted due to World War II. Since its inception the event has seen many changes, not least in its name. The name, British Empire Games, was changed in 1950 to British Empire and Commonwealth Games. In 1966, it was changed to British Commonwealth Games. It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton that saw this unique, world class, multi-sports event change its name to the Commonwealth Games.

Often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’ only single competition sports had been on the programme from 1930 up to and including the 1994 Games in Victoria.

The 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur saw the introduction of team sports with nations taking part in cricket (50 over game), hockey (men and women), netball (women) and rugby 7's (men).

In Manchester in 2002 hockey, netball and rugby 7's were part of the programme again and at the 2006 Games in Melbourne basketball was added to the list of team sports.

Hockey, netball and rugby 7’s will again feature in XIX edition of the games at Delhi in 2010.

Click here to read more about Commonwealth Nations.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Commonwealth Nations

The Commonwealth of Nations, established on 11 December 1931 is an organisation of 53 independent member states. 

Most of the states were formerly part of the British Empire. They co-operate within a framework of common values and goals, as outlined in the Singapore Declaration.These include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace.

The Commonwealth is an inter-governmental organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status. Its activities are carried out through the permanent Commonwealth Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General; biennial Meetings between Commonwealth Heads of Government; and the Commonwealth Foundation, which facilitates activities of non-governmental organisations in the so-called 'Commonwealth Family'.

32 members of the Commonwealth Nations are Republics, 16 members are Commonwealth Realms and 5 members have distinct Monarchs.
The Head of the Commonwealth is a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II is also the monarch of sixteen members of the Commonwealth, also called the Commonwealth realms. As each realm is an independent kingdom, the Queen, as monarch, holds a distinct title for each of the realms.

Read more about history and traditions of Commonwealth Games.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Commonwealth Games 2010

Logo of 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi
Host city: New Delhi, India 
Nations participating: 72 Commonwealth Teams
Athletes participating: TBA
Events: 17 disciplines  Queen's Baton Relay: 29 October 2009

Opening ceremony: 03 October 2010
Closing ceremony: 14 October 2010

Click here to know more about history of Commonwealth Games.
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