Saturday, 31 October 2009

SIS Live to cover Commonwealth Games

Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan has inked contract with Europe's largest outside broadcast (OB) and uplink supplier, SIS Live (Satellite Information Service) to cover the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi.

SIS Live has got rights for production and coverage facilities and services of the Commonwealth Games. The British company will use High Definition TV (HD TV) for the first time in the history of Commonwealth Games to cover the prestigious games with better image resolution.

Aruna Sharma, Director General of Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati, informed media that they have signed a contract with SIS Live to cover 2010 Commonwealth Games after a 3 month long process.

Mrs. Aruna added that 17 different sporting events will be held across 12 venues in New Delhi, and SIS Live will provide all production facilities and personnel to cover games including grand opening and closing ceremonies and Queen's Baton Relay.

SIS Live will provide 1,000 highly-skilled technical and production staff for coverage of games at 12 venues apart from training 300 DD staff starting soon in New Delhi by foreign technicians.

Commonwealth Games vs Environmental activism

The “Games versus greens” debate is set to make a comeback. After allowing the felling of thousands of trees in the past three years for projects related to Commonwealth Games 2010, the Delhi government will start planting a fresh bunch of trees on the outskirts on Friday, name it after the showpiece event and call it “green”.

As Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit plants the saplings here at 4.30 pm, the Mayor of London will be doing the same in his city some 9,500 km away, alongside the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay. To embarrass the government before the world at such a prestigious event, a group of activists will also be present at the venue in Delhi with black posters with the message: “This Games is Environmentally Black”.

“This tamasha has to be exposed to the world,” said Prof. Prabhakar Rao, an environmentalist with NGO Kalpavriksh. “They have cut hundreds of trees in the past three years; this kind of plantation drives do not compensate that loss at all.”

In the past three years, construction of flyovers, widening of roads, revamping of stadiums like Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Talkatora stadium, Delhi University and others, and covering of the storm-water channels (nalas) to make parking lots etc have chopped thousands of full-grown trees of various families largely on the roadside.

The government mandates that for each tree felled, 10 trees will have to be planted as compensation. But due to lack of space, plantings happen on the outskirts.

“The micro-environment of the city is butchered for some feel-good city-forest miles away,” said Diwan Singh of NGO Natural Heritage First. “They have killed the river and chopped the trees for the Games. How can they call the Games green?”

Environment secretary Dharmendra said that the plantation drives were part of Delhi’s carbon offset plans. “Events like the Games involve activities that cause high carbon-dioxide emission. We need carbon-sinks like tree covers to neutralise that.”

While the activists are ready with their posters and a large group of youth and students to make the protest as spectacular as possible, the government is sticking to its own statistics. “In the past two years Delhi’s green cover has increased by 1.68 per cent,” Dharmendra said.

No more fights: Kalmadi and Fennell

Putting an end to the great Indian tamasha, 2010 Games Organizing Committee (OC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Michael Fennell have decided to put aside their differences and work together as partners to host the Games next October.

Kalmadi had earlier objected to Fennell’s decision to set up a monitoring committee for the 2010 Games and demanded the recall of CGF chief executive Mike Hooper, saying ‘he is of little help’ to the OC.

After the Queen’s Baton Relay Thursday, both Kalmadi and Fennell met and sorted out their differences. They also agreed to refrain from making comments about each other.

In a joint statement the two said: ‘It is agreed that there have been misunderstandings and unfortunate media statements and reports that have created a regrettable set of circumstances. We have agreed that we will continue to work together as partners, fully recognizing and respecting our individual roles and ensuring that our attention is not diverted from meeting all the targets that have been agreed upon.’

‘The next step will be the visit of the CGF Co-ordination Commission (COCOM) commencing December 14 for evaluating the progress and the achievement of the targets promised by the OC. The review report will be considered by CGF and OC,’ the statement said.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Delhi bus drivers learning English

Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus drivers are being trained in English to welcome foreign tourists during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. This training is being given as part of New Delhi's initiatives to act as perfect hosts for the event.

"One thing is for sure our country comes first in welcoming guests. Indians are great hosts. I also have a part to play to show the world how good hosts we can be. I would be the Indian brand ambassador," said a bus driver.

Over 5000 DTC drivers and conductors are being given lessons and trained in soft skills.

"When they will arrive we'll say 'Welcome to India' and would welcome them. When they will travel in our bus, we would say 'Please take your seat.' And, if they need any help, we'll say, 'may I help you Sir? This way, we will welcome them," said another bus driver.

Nearly 100,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Delhi next October to witness the two-week long games.

DTC is thus overhauling its bus fleet for the visitors.

"We'll have to think that as drivers and conductors, they are very good in their field. They just have an inferiority complex from which we have to bring them out and need to bring them in to mainstream of the society. So we are trying that they become a bit confident in speaking English language," said Director, training requirement and education programme, DTC.

Nearly 6,000 new DTC buses will be introduced by 2010 to ease commuting of which many will be low-floor, high capacity and air-conditioned.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Baton relay starts with Rigveda (ancient Indian scripture)

INDIA HAS reasons to feel proud when its ancient tradition of starting an event with chanting of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit was adopted at the kick-start of Commonwealth Games 2010 in presence of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and President Pratibha Patil of India at London in a spectacular ceremony. Chanting of Vedic hymns by British children in chorus for several minutes in fluent Sanskrit that too without reading any script was indeed worth-appreciating.

Chanting of Vedic hymns in state-assemblies of United States of America and countries is also becoming a regular trend. Only recently an Indian priest Narayanachar Digalakote chanted hymns while US President lit Diwali-lamp at White House. When Western countries are realizing the importance of Vedic hymns in Sanskrit, it is time that Indian government may set up a separate ministry for development and research of Sanskrit to explore the hidden treasure of literature and medical science in the ancient language.

Queen's Baton begins its epic journey

The relay, which has been the curtain raiser to every Commonwealth Games since 1958, began when the Queen Elizabeth II entrusted the baton containing her message to the President of India.

The baton will appear at various high-profile sporting events and pass through all of the Commonwealth nations before arriving in Delhi in a journey that will cover 190,000 kilometers in 336 days.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Commonwealth Games England President, said: "Excitement is now building towards the Games in Delhi next year and the Queen's Baton Relay is one of the longest standing traditions of the Commonwealth Games.

"The Baton's journey symbolize the unity and shared ideals of the Commonwealth Nations.

The baton, packed with high-tech cameras, sound-recorders and LED lights all made in India, contains a message to the athletes from the queen that will be opened and read out at the launch of the Games in New Delhi Oct 3.

The baton will traverse the length and breadth of the Commonwealth for 240 days before arriving in India, where it will launch into a 100-day national tour, going through all the states and union territories.

After a colorful performance of Indian music and dance on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace Thursday, the baton was passed in turn from the Queen to Patil, to Sports Minister M.S. Gill, Games Organizing Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, and finally to the 14 athletes who began the baton relay.

Running with the baton outside the Palace in central London were shooter Abhinav Bindra, former British runner Sebastian Coe, former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev, tennis star Sania Mirza, 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh, British runner Kelly Holmes, England cricketer Monty Panesar, boxer Vijender Kumar, squash player Misha Soni, wrestler Sushil Kumar, British wheelchair table tennis player Susan Gilroy, weighlifter Karnam Malleshwari, hockey star Dilip Tirkey and decathlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa.

They were cheered by hundreds of people who lined the gates of Buckingham Palace.

The baton was carried to the Queen Victoria Memorial and The Mall in central London, before making its way to Trafalgar Square.

The baton's journey will take in some of the most remote places in the Commonwealth, including the British-administered territory of St. Helena - accessible only by boat - and the Falkland Islands.

It will enter India from the Attari border with Pakistan June 25 before starting on a journey of 28 States and seven union territories, covering a distance of over 20,000 km.

The relay will end at the opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Oct 3, where athletes will be read out the Queen's message, engraved on a miniature 18-carat gold leaf representing the ancient Indian 'patra' - currently locked in a jewelery box inside the baton.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Batonbearers excited ahead of Queen's Baton relay

The air was thick with anticipation as Batonbearers from India and Britain chosen to feature in the launch Queen's Baton Relay 2010 on Thursday gathered at the official hotel of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi on Wednesday.

Lord Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic Games champion and Chairman, London 2012 Organising Committee, enquired about Delhi's preparedness of the Commonwealth Games and embraced former India cricket captain Kapil Dev.

Kapil, who was captain of the Indian cricket team that won the World Cup in 1983, loved the opportunity to interact with champions from other sporting disciplines. "It is wonderful to meet people like Lord Coe as well as our own champions like Abhinav Bindra, Milkha Singh, Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar," he said.

He said he had no doubt that Delhi 2010 would be a memorable event and that the athletes from the Commonwealth nations and territories would enjoy their visit to compete in the biggest sporting extravaganza in Delhi.

Olympic Games and World championship bronze medalist boxer Vijender Singh was thrilled that he would play a role in the Queen's Relay at Buckingham Palace on his 24th birthday on Thursday. Freestyle wrestler Sushil Kumar, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, and India's first woman medalist at the Olympic Games, Karnam Malleswari, were excited too to be a part of the opening day ceremonies.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Mr. Michael Fennell will take the Baton from the plint and carry it to Her Majesty the Queen. She will place her message to the athletes in a jewellery box in the handcrafted Baton. Her message has been engraved onto a miniature 18-carat gold leaf that is symbolic of the ancient Indian palm leaf patras. The embossing has been made by using modern laser technology. The Baton has been created by Foley design along with Titan Industries and Bharat Electronics.

The Hon'ble President of India will pass on the Baton to the Minister for Sports, Dr. M S Gill who will then turn it over to Mr. Kalmadi, Chairman of the Organising Committee and President of the Indian Olympic Association. Mr. Suresh Kalmadi will then hand over the Baton to the first Batonbearer, Abhinav Bindra.

On October 30, Organising Committee Chairman Mr. Kalmadi will hand over the Baton to the Commonwealth Games Council of England Chairman Sir Andrew Foster in the presence of the Union Sports Minister Dr. MS Gill and the Rt. Hon. Mr. John Bercow, Hon'ble Speaker of the House of Commons and Mr. Tejendra Khanna, Lt. Governor, National Capital Territory of Delhi. The ceremony will be held at the Greens in New Palace Yard, Houses of Parliament.

After journeying for 170,000km over 240 days in different lands that are members of the Commonwealth, the Baton will arrive in India at the Wagah Border with Pakistan with just 100 days left for the start of the Games. It will then travel to all State Capitals, a number of other towns and villages, exhorting all of India to be a part of the celebrations. It will reach the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on October 3, 2010 when the Queen or Her representative will read out the message to the athletes, marking the start of the Games.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Global Television gets TV rights

Australia's Global Television has won a world wide tender to design, install and operate the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. This will be the first time in Commonwealth Games history that the event has been broadcast in High Definition digital, also marking a critical milestone for Indian television.

Global was selected from a tough international field after an intensive three-month evaluation period. Global delivered the IBC technical build for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Global will also work with an on-the-ground Indian partner.

The IBC is the hub for all Commonwealth Games broadcasting activity, handling incoming television pictures and sound from the host broadcaster, distributing that footage to international rights holders and managing rights holders’ outgoing transmissions.

Global’s track record in providing complex technical broadcast requirements for major international events is well established. In addition to the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Global Television has delivered IBC requirements for the 2007 FINA World Championships (swimming), World Youth Day in 2008 and the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

The Delhi Commonwealth Games IBC will house studio and reporting facilities for broadcasters and journalists from around the world. Occupying 8,000 square meters, up to 1,500 broadcast professionals will be based at the IBC.

Global Television begins work on the contract immediately, with a technical team en route to Delhi for briefings this week and to attend the first World Broadcasters Meeting for rights holders.

Indian Prez in UK for Queen's Baton Relay

Indian President Pratibha Patil arrived in Britain on Monday for a state visit during which she will join Queen Elizabeth II to launch the baton relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Patil touched down to a red carpet reception at London's Heathrow airport where she was greeted by dignitaries including the head of the capital's Metropolitan Police, Paul Stephenson.

During her visit, Patil will on Tuesday visit the queen's Windsor Castle residence outside London for a ceremonial welcome and state banquet, then hold talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the president will attend the launch of the Commonwealth Games baton relay at Buckingham Palace in London. The relay will travel through 70 countries and reach the Indian capital when the games open on October 3.

Patil is the first Indian head of state to visit Britain for almost 20 years.

Improving trade links and boosting British investment in India will be high on the agenda for the visit, Indian officials said.

"Apart from the growing trade and economic relations, India and Britain cooperate well in a number of areas including education, research, science and technology," foreign secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters last week.

Patil, the first Indian woman to be elected to the ceremonial role, will leave on Thursday and visit Cyprus before returning home on October 31.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

More baggage scanners for Delhi

Delhi Police has decided to increase by 99 the number of X-Ray baggage inspection systems (XBIS) to be hired for Commonwealth Games venues for better security preparedness. With this, a senior police official said, the total number of X-Ray baggage inspection equipment to be installed at 11 venues and 15 practice venues for the next year's mega sporting event will be 239.

“Earlier, we were to hire 140 such equipment but keeping in mind the security requirements we decided to hire 99 more X-Ray baggage inspection systems. The number may go up if there is a need,” the official said.

The X-Ray baggage inspection systems will be installed at the innermost fourth layer of security ring at venues which the security establishment calls as the 'exclusion zone', he said. The Games will be held here from October 3 to 14 next year.

“The XBIS which we are hiring will be new. There will be no compromise on the quality of performance,” the official said. The equipment will be installed at the venues on September 1 next year and will be there till October 28.

“The machine will have features of multi-energy imaging facility where materials will be displayed in different colors to distinguish between organic and inorganic materials. This will enable us to distinguish high density organic materials like explosives,” he said.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Delhi: City of flyovers

Promising world class road infrastructure in the national capital during next year's Commonwealth Games, chief minister Sheila Dikshit today said visitors of the showpiece event will remember Delhi as a city of flyovers.

Addressing a function after formally dedicating two new flyovers at South Delhi, Dikshit said she was confident of completing all the road infrastructure projects well in time which will provide uninterrupted connectivity in the city.

"There would be a signal-free road from Nehru Place to IGI Airport by November this year as a third flyover on Outer Ring Road will be commissioned next month," Dikshit said.

She dedicated two flyovers to Delhiites -- one at the Africa Avenue and Aruna Asaf Ali Marg intersection and the other one at the Rao Tula Ram Marg and Benito Juarez Marg intersection.

"We are confident that the visitors during the Games would be able to carry a good impression about the city," she said adding that they will remember Delhi as city of flyovers.

Noting that hosting such a prestigious international sports event has provided an excellent opportunity to the city to undertake a large number of developmental works, she said her government was gearing up to offer the best facilities to its visitors.

Dikshit also said Delhi would become the first city in the world to have highest number of CNG low-floor buses during the Games as the fleet strength of these buses will be 3,500 by March 2010.

The city government has undertaken a comprehensive exercise to install modern street lights, improve roads and enhance greening, including giving the underneath of flyovers an attractive look, she said.

The flyovers have unique feature such as noise barriers, concrete pavement over its entire length for maintenance free and enhanced service life.

Checking Delhi Belly...

With Commonwealth Games fast approaching, Confederation of Indian Industry is launching an attempt to force Delhi's caterers to clean up their act and educate them on basic food hygiene. They are to conduct an audit of more than 800 cafes and restaurants close to the Commonwealth Games Village to assess where they need to improve.

The eating joints will be judged on parameters like maintenance and cleanliness, personal cleanliness of the staff, pest control and garbage disposal, food packaging, storage and water quality. The Confederation is also planning to provide emergency training for those who fail to meet international standards.

An initial survey found some places had overflowing garbage bins with poor personal hygiene of food handlers and waiters. It was also found that the raw material was stacked in an unorganized way. All these are area of improvements for food industry, specifically as Delhi is known for its vast array of appealing food which attracts many tourists each year.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Weightlifters cause a major embarrassment to India

The participation of Indian weightlifters in next year’s Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi is in jeopardy with the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) facing the prospect of a one-year ban after a third positive dope test result in two days. After Shailja Pujari and Vicky Batta were caught in the dope net on Monday, IWF secretary BR Gulati confirmed on Tuesday that another weightlifter, Priyadarshini, had flunked the test.

According to International Weightlifting Federation regulations, a national federation can be banned for a year if three of its lifters test positive for banned substances. If the Indian federation is banned, the host nation will not be represented by weightlifters at the New Delhi CWG to be held between October 3 and 14, 2010.

“Priyadarshini was tested in Pune on August 7 and 8 during trials and her sample was found positive. The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) report says she was using a masking agent to save herself from getting caught for taking banned substances,” says Gulati.

Since Priyadarshini has been caught doping for the first time, a two-year ban is expected to be the penalty for the offence.

However, Shailja, who tested positive for an anabolic steroid in a NADA test, and Vicky, caught by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), face life bans since they have been guilty of doping earlier.

Although Gulati refuses to comment on the possibility of the Indian federation being banned, the penalty seems unavoidable. As an IWF official says: “There are three positive dope tests and the rules are clear.” In any case, the Indian federation will have to shell out $5,000 for each failed dope test.

It may be recalled that Indian weightlifters have a history of doping. The IWF has been banned twice previously, the last time being in 2006 when Shailja, B Pramilavalli, Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh tested positive. The ban was lifted after six months with the IWF paying a fine of $50,000.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Usain Bolt still not clear about Commonwealth Games

Usain Bolt has left a large question mark over whether the Commonwealth Games will figure in his schedule for the 2010 season by saying that he does not plan to compete in major championships because he needs an easy season to help him prepare for the London 2012 Olympics.

Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the New Delhi organising committee, had claimed last month that he is confident that Bolt and team-mate Asafa Powell, the former world record holder for the 100 metres, and the rest of Jamaica's top sprinters will run in the Indian capital.

But the triple Olympic and world champion, has warned that he plans to adopt a more low-key approach in 2010 after two years during which he has revolutionised the sport by smashing the world records for the 100 and 200 metres.

"We’ll definitely win races and try to do our best. But we don’t really want to do too much, because after the upcoming season we have World Championships in 2011 and the Olympics in 2012 and I have to defend my titles."

Bolt has consistently refused to commit himself to the Commonwealth Games, which are due to open on October 3, 2010. He has said that he will leave the final decision to his coach, Glen Mills.

Australia raises security issue again

Australia on Wednesday raised their apprehensions over security arrangements for the 2010 Commonwealth Games but maintained that India has assured all precautions will be taken.

“We have to be very cautious about extremists activities. We don't want any innocent athlete to face any problem,” Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith said after visiting Major Dhyan Chand and Talkatora stadiums.

He met his Indian counterpart S M Krishna on Tuesday and discussed the security arrangements for the Games. Krishna briefed him about the arrangements and assured him foolproof arrangements.

"My observation is that things are on track. Some commentaries say that preparation is behind schedule. But these comments are always made in the run up to any Commonwealth Games and any Olympics Games," he told reporters.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Commonwealth Games suspends Fiji

The Commonwealth Games Federation has suspended Fiji's membership of the Federation and has ruled it out of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The move follows Fiji's formal suspension from the Commonwealth last month. This came after it failed to meet conditions including holding early democratic elections.

Federation president Michael Fennell says there is great sympathy for the plight of Fijian athletes aspiring to compete in New Delhi. He also gave a ray of hope to Fiji when he said that the federation will make a representation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that sport not be included in sanctions imposed on Fiji.

That exemption could provide Fiji's athletes an opportunity to participate in the 2010 games, which are scheduled for next October.

The Commonwealth Games feature 71 nations and territories that were linked to the former British Empire.

Jury is out on 2010 Commonwealth Games preps

The tide is slowly turning and preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi seems to be on track. The final verdict on the preparations will come on Monday after a week of inspections by delegates from all 71 member countries as well as the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Mike Fennell.

Fennell has already toned don his criticism of the preparations, and Delhi it seems, has got the wake-up call loud and clear.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Vice-Patron of the CGF, on Sunday got a first hand experience of the stadiums that will host the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He went to the historic Dhyan Chand National Stadium to have a look at one of the few venues that is on schedule. The stadium would host the Hockey World Cup in March and the Prince was briefed on its progress.

More endorsement also came from the CGF President, who had just recently criticised the slow pace of work.

"One of the comforting facts is the attention has been paid by the Government of India through Minister Gill (Union Sports Minister MS Gill) who has given an unqualified assurance that all the resources that are necessary to ensure successful Games in 2010 will be provided by the government," Fennell said.

The Commonwealth Games Federation Assembly will debate whether Delhi has passed the test for now. Delegates from all 71-member countries have been visiting all the venues over the last few days.

Some have made their opinions known but a final word is awaited even as the organising committee has been calling the visits a success.

Reports published last month suggested that CGF thinks that the games will be partial failure. But after that wakeup call, the organisers seem to have got their act together and are now working overtime to bring things back on track.

More funds requested by Commonwealth Games 2010

Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Dr. M S Gill on Monday said he will ask the government to release more funds for the Commonwealth Games.

Addressing a gathering of delegates from the 71 member nations of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at the CGF General Assembly meet here, Gill said that the games committee is facing some shortfall in the already proposed budget and so they would ask the Central Goverment to release more funds. Gill said he is certain that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet would not hesitate to make all arrangements required for smooth process of the games.

He said New Delhi is bracing up to live up to the expectations of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

“We have to give you arrangements which are worthwhile, which are acceptable and which are seen to be good. Therefore Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit is working day and night. We are working as hard as we can on that,” Gill said.

Meanwhile, Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games Federation said the upcoming games village is even better than the one in Beijing Olympics.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games will be India’s first major international sports event after the 1982 Asian Games. New Delhi hosted the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 and again in 1982.

The Games will be staged in India for the first time and in Asia for the second time. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, held the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

Adverse reports on Commonwealth Games inaccurate: Fennell

Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Fennell says many of the reports on Delhi's tardy preparations for the 2010 Games are "not quite accurate" and the government of India is paying full attention to hosting the event successfully.

"We are coming here in the midst of many adverse reports about Delhi, reports that are not quite accurate," Fennell, who has been quite critical in his assessment of Delhi's preparedness in the past, said while inaugurating the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly here in Indian national capital New Delhi.

"But one conflicting fact is that attention is being paid by the government of India through (Sports) Minister M S Gill, who has given qualified assurance that all the resources that are necessary to ensure the successful celebration of the Games in 2010 will be provided by the government," he added.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Prince Edward visits Commonwealth Games venues

Earl of Wessex Prince Edward visited the Commonwealth Games venues and the Games Village here on Sunday. He inspected the sites carefully and at the end expressed satisfaction at the infrastructure being developed for the coming international sporting event.

Dressed in a blue t-shirt with the Commonwealth Games Federation logo, Prince Edward showed keen interest in the infrastructure development in Delhi and the level of preparedness of the Organising Committee. He was particularly keen on knowing details about the Queen’s Baton Relay that will be launched by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on October 29.

Prince Edward visited the headquarters of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games 2010. Later he also inspected Thyagaraj Stadium, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and the Games Village.

At the Games Village, the prince was shown a miniature model of the 34-tower facility. He also saw a model of the apartments before visiting tower no. 9 of the Games Village in a golf cart. He then took a round of two fully-furnished apartments and spent about 10 minutes inside the apartments looking at the facilities for athletes and left after signing the guest book.

At the Thyagaraj Stadium, the prince asked specifically about an entrance that has been created for vehicles to enter the field of play area and was happy that it was designed to allow ambulances to have easy access to injured athletes. He spent a long time at the National Stadium, where the hockey competition will be held.

Metro to extend hours & service during 2010 Games

Delhi Metro could run past midnight during the 2010 Commonwealth Games for the convenience of visitors. As of now, most of the lines run last services around 11 p.m deadline.

"We are in discussions with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and have recommended they keep their services running past midnight," Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said.

The move, Mehta said, was in tune with the decision to extend timings for markets and malls in the national capital, which mostly close by 9 or 10 p.m.

The Delhi Metro, which is rapidly becoming the lifeline of the capital, is set to expand from 75 km to 200 km by opening six new lines on its Phase II by October 2010.
Sportspersons as well as spectators will also find the going easy - since 10 of the 11 Games venues will have easy Metro connectivity.

The Metro is already well connected to the various tourist attractions like India Gate, the Connaught Place market from the British era, and the buzzing markets in the old city at Chawri Bazaar. With the new lines many open markets like Lajpat Nagar and malls in the national capital will also be on the network.

"The smart card can be used for travelling in both the Metro and buses. The buses will have automated ticketing machines and fare will be deducted by punching of the smart card," he said.

With the completion of Phase II, the Metro ridership is expected to go up to 2.5 million daily from the 950,000 average now.

By next year, passengers can use the high speed Metro Airport Express Line. Travellers will be able to get their boarding passes for their flights at the NH-8, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Dwarka sector 21 and the Dhaula Kuan Metro stations. Metro trains on this line will run at a speed of 135 kmph and cover the 21-km distance from New Delhi to the airport in 18 minutes.

CWG 2010: Zero tolerance for performance enhancers

In its bid to keep the 2010 Commonwealth Games drug-free, Delhi is putting together a comprehensive plan to tackle the menace of doping and performance enhancers.

Besides 1,500 urine samples, 150 blood samples will also be collected during the Games. This will be the highest number of samples ever collected during the Games.

“The World Anti Doping Agency’s newly-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory is ready for the test,” said Organising Committee Medical and Anti-doping Commission chief Manmohan Singh, on Friday.

Even Commonwealth Games Federation Medical and Doping Commission chairman M Jegathesan was quite convinced that Delhi would pull it off.

“We visited the accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory and came away very satisfied that it can handle the demands,” said Jegathesan, who is also Commonwealth Games Federation medical advisor.

The anti-doping commission has lined up a comprehensive training programme as well and will start from next month.

“We will start it from next month and we will collect samples during the test events as well,” said Manish Chander, director, doping control.

The organising committee will enrol 550 dope control officials, including chaperons, for the Games. The training will be in four phases: induction, role-specific training, venue-specific training and refresher courses just before the mega event.

“Though most of the dope control officials will be from India, we might hire a few from other CGF nations,” said Chander.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

1 year left: Is Delhi ready for Commonwealth Games?

CWG2010: Heat and humidity a big concern

It was a melting 35 degrees in Delhi India yesterday as Canadian Commonwealth Games officials spoke to the media. The humidity debuted at day a sweltering 65 per cent and the pollution was chewier than it was for the Beijing Olympics, says Dr. Jon Kolb.

A year from now at this the time, Canadians along with sportsperson from 70 other countries will be performing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - all but overlooked in the euphoria over the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver and Whistler.

If Canada's summer team was in Delhi yesterday, the humidex - the measure of heat discomfort with which Canadian are familiar - would have read 50: the accompanying warning is that no physical work should be undertaken without medical supervision.

"Some teams have set out pre-Games camps, using the information they got from the Beijing Olympics," says Dr. Jon Kolb, a Calgary-based doctor who was the Canadian Olympic Committee's specialist on pollution and climate for the Beijing Olympics.

"We're building on that information. For instance, Swimming Canada had a training camp in Singapore before the Beijing Games. That's something they'll do again. And I understand Australia and New Zealand are planning the same."

Kolb will do the same kind of analysis of the weather and pollution and environmental considerations for the Commonwealth Games this time. That's become the new responsibility for Canada's sports administrators - having Canadian athletes who can perform on a year-round basis in different hemispheres - a summer shift and a winter shift.

One reason is to prepare for the heat load and the other to get the body clock ready for a transition to a place half the world away. For instance, Toronto is 9 hours 30 minutes behind Delhi.

"The challenge is to be in the time zone two weeks in advance and to prepare for the heat load," Kolb said.

The weather is something they cannot control, but for which they can at least prepare. That's not the same as other factors surrounding Games preparation.

Delegates from the 71 countries and states formerly associated with Britain as colonies or protectorates inspected venues and facilities this week, as concerns became public over Delhi's preparations.

Some 6,000 athletes from the Commonwealth nations could be at 17 venues, including the world's fastest sprinter Usain Bolt (Video: 100 m world record performance) and Asafa Powell (Video: Powell's Gold winning performance @ Melbourne CWG)

"Delegates will visit the athletes' village and various venues and will then hold their general assembly on Monday."

On their part, Canadians - who were Commonwealth hosts at Hamilton, Vancouver, Edmonton and Victoria - are willing to help out in areas where they have expertise, such as transportation.

The Canadian team will have security input from The RCMP, CSIS and federal foreign affairs consultants.

"We've been assessing the readiness of the games. In days ahead we will be visiting sites and expressing views. We will be thoughtful but also forceful," said Dr. Andrew Pipe, president of Commonwealth Games Canada.

Scott Stevenson, director of sport for the CGC said the performance level of Canadians at Delhi will be important in measuring the ability to produce a medal in London.

The Commonwealth Games body has tried to make performance at its Games relevant for Own the Podium officials. Canada usually finishes in the top three at the Commonwealth Games, with Australia and England, but India could move past at a home Games in a climate that's familiar and at a point on the calendar when Canada's summer season is over.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Commonwealth Games = No Cars + Free ride?

The issue of providing transport for spectators to the 2010 Commonwealth Games venues is getting knotty. While Delhi Police has suggested banning the use of private vehicles during the event, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has requested for free services by public transport agencies like the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Metro (Video: Delhi Metro).

Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta has convened a high-level meeting with all stakeholders — including the DTC, Delhi Metro (Watch Video here), Transport Department, Organising Committee and Finance Department — to resolve the issue on Monday.

Sources in the Government disclosed that Delhi Police has suggested imposition of restrictions on private vehicles in view of problems related to security, traffic and parking. “The spectators should use public transport to reach the venues,” a note by the Delhi Police suggests. Maintaining free flow of vehicles and parking are the main problems facing the traffic police since there clearly aren't enough parking spots available. Also, more the number of vehicles, more personnel would be needed to manage the traffic.

With over 60 lakh vehicles jostling for space every day on the Capital’s congested roads, ensuring free flow of traffic during the sporting extravaganza can prove to be an uphill task. The traffic police has drawn up a comprehensive plan, mapping out the movement of each category of city residents, to ensure there are no bottlenecks.

As per the plan, several roads leading up to important venues like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held; and Games Village will be cordoned off for all traffic. Only labelled vehicles will be allowed to use these roads and the traffic police is drawing up alternative routes for general traffic. Traffic movement will also be restricted in busy areas around the venues. For instance, those working at CGO Complex (near Nehru Stadium) will have to take either the Metro or park their vehicles at Lodhi Road and avail the park-and-ride service. All vehicles on Delhi’s roads have been divided into three categories - normal traffic, Games traffic and VVIP movement.

Meanwhile, DTC has opposed the organising committee suggestion of providing free services for spectators. “If DTC provides free services, it will incur a loss of over Rs 20 crore. Its financial condition is not very sound to bear such losses,” said sources. The events would be held at over a dozen stadia across the city.

According to sources, the organising committee doesn’t seem keen to support DTC financially. Sources said DTC has agreed to provide a 20 per cent concession on tickets and the Delhi Metro has flatly refused free ridership. The DTC would provide 554 buses with a wheelchair and 20 buses with four wheelchairs, as requested by the organising committee.

Commonwealth Games chief meets PM

After being caught napping on day one of the Commonwealth delegation's visit to the National Capital to check the preparedness for the 2010 Games, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chairman Michael Fennell had a busy schedule on Friday. He met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the morning.

Fennell's meeting with the prime minister was a key to putting the Games preparations back on track. Later, he did preside over meetings of the federation's executive board and all member nations later in the day.

Delegates from over 70 Commonwealth countries travelled across the city and inspected various venues for the Games across the city on Thursday. Their main aim was to assess Delhi's preparedness to host the Games.

And the verdict was unanimous. Delhi has a long way to go if it's serious about putting up a good show in October 2010.

Fennell was seen taking a quick nap in the middle of an important presentation on Thursday. Perhaps the preparations, or the lack of it, drove away any interest from the top boss. Fennell had earlier expressed concerns regarding games preparations. He had sought Prime Minister's intervention into the matter.

When India's deficiencies in hosting the Games lay exposed in Delhi, IOA chief Kalmadi was accompanying Rahul Gandhi on his campaign trail in Pune, that too when his seat was not at stake. Clearly loyalty to the party high command outweighs loyalty to sports.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Scots testing waters in India

With the 2010 Commonwealth Games less than a year away, the Scottish rugby team arrived in India for a week-long training camp. The 12-member squad is currently training at the Hindu College grounds until Friday, before it plays three matches against the Indian team on Saturday.

Karen Burnett, team manager, said the pitch had been "quite a pleasant surprise."

"I haven't taken a look at the main tournament venues yet, the dressing rooms are still under construction. But the pitch has been laid out well," she added.

It is evident that Scottish team is taking the games seriously as its the first team to visit India to check the conditions. 71 countries are scheduled to take part in the games next year in October 2010.

Burnett said that the players were coping reasonably well with the heat and the humidity, weather factors in direct contrast to Scotland's cooler conditions. "The boys quite enjoy being away from the cold actually," Burnett said, as the players sweated it out on a sunny morning.

Greg Davey, development manager of the Indian Rugby-Football Union, said, "A lot of work needs to be done at the site to make this top class. There have been some issues with the water sprinklers at the ground," he explained.

Scott Forest, team captain, said, "Good work has been done on the pitch here. But the heat gets to you a bit," he grinned.

Fullback Colin Shaw admitted that India had come as a culture shock. “The food, the people, everything is different from what we are used to,” he said.

Rugby will be played across eight venues during the 2010 Games. The sport is played in three formats - 15-a-side, ten-a-side, and Rugby Sevens, and Davey compared them to the Test, ODIs and Twenty20 formats of cricket.

An official confirmation for rugby as an Olympics sport, which is being awaited by rugby organisations, would provide a benefit for its development. "Maybe that will act as a wake-up call for the authorities," Davey said, trying to sound confident. But his skeptical look said it all.

Commonwealth Games delegates impressed with Games village

The visiting Commonwealth Games delegation has given a thumbs-up to the under-construction Games Village, the organisers claimed here today.

According to an Organising Committee statement, the CGF Secretary General Louise Martin and her colleagues in the delegation were highly impressed with the Games Village and hoped the athletes would enjoy the facility spread over 27 acres to house 8000 sportspersons in its 4,000 bedrooms.

"Absolutely fantastic. The athletes will enjoy," Martin wrote in the Guest Book at the Games Village.

Craig Hunter, a delegate from England, was also impressed with the Village, where the delegates were taken to Tower 9 and shown a set of furnished apartments.

"This is a wonderful Games Village and we look forward to stay (here) in 2010," he wrote.

The delegates also visited the Thyagraj Sports Complex and appeared to be satisfied with the progress.

Commonwealth Games chief caught napping.. OOPS..!!

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell has been keeping a hawk's eye on Delhi's preparations for the games. Earlier last month he had raised concerns about India’s preparedness for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

However he was found napping during a presentation made by the Organising Committee (OC) at the Thyagaraj Stadium here Thursday. During the presentation, Fennell and some delegates were caught on camera dozing off much to the disappointment of the Indian officials.

Fennell has raised questions on the OC’s ability to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games and even asked for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention. He had warned that the Games was heading for a "partial failure" unless the organisers pulled up their socks. Fennell is expected to meet the Prime Minister here on Friday.

With some 110 delegates from 71 Commonwealth countries for federation’s General Assembly slated for Oct 12, Fennell went around the city visiting all the venues and the Games Village. And by the time his convoy of three buses and eight cars came to Thyagaraj Stadium, it seemed that the trip had taken a toll on him.

Commonwealth Games delegates inspect preparations

With less than a year to go before the Commonwealth Games 2010 begin in New Delhi, hectic parlays are on to ensure that the event is carried out without any flaws in infrastructure requirements.

The head of the Commonwealth Games Federation Mike Fennell is in the national capital now and started his round of meetings on Wednesday.

Fennell met the sports minister to discuss the progress of work. He met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for related discussions too.

Fennell had earlier raised concerns about the pace of work for the 2010 Games that are only a few months away. He, reportedly, does not sound satisfied with the pace of work.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit's government faces the ultimate test on Thursday as delegates from about 71 countries, along with Mike Fennell are in Delhi to inspect the 2010 Games venues. The delegates will be given free passage across the capital to review all the areas.

The daily commuters in the national capital need to brace themselves for heavy jams as the delegation will start its review on Thursday morning. The tour is scheduled to begin at 0830 hrs and end by 1900 hrs. The Traffic department of Delhi Police has advised commuters to avoid key arterial roads like Kamal Ataturk Marg, Safdarjung Road, Lodhi Road, Mathura Road, National Highway-24, Talkatora Road, Raisina Road, Janpath, Prithviraj Road and Aurobindo Marg. While roads will not be closed, congestion is expected on the assigned routes.

PM monitors Commonwealth Games project

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday directed the Sports Ministry to fine-tune coordination among various agencies involved in next year's Commonwealth Games amid growing concerns that the country was not adequately prepared to host the mega sporting event.

Singh took stock of the various ongoing projects in an hour-long review meeting attended by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Sports Minister M S Gill and Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia among others.

"After the review meeting, the prime minister asked the sports minister to coordinate with Indian Olympic Association officials to fine-tune preparations," a PMO source said after the meeting.

Briefing the prime minister about the status of various projects undertaken by her government for the Games, Dikshit gave an assurance that all efforts are being taken to make the sporting extravaganza a great success and that all the projects will be completed well in time.

The review meeting comes nearly a month after Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell sought Singh's intervention to put things in order as it appeared that much of the crucial infrastructure projects will miss the 2010 October deadline.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Commonwealth Games General Assembly meet: Delhi unhappy

Residents in New Delhi expressed their unhappiness on Wednesday after authorities announced many major roads would be closed to give inspecting Commonwealth Games officials a smooth ride through the city.

Delegates from the 71 teams have arrived for the general assembly of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and will take an inspection tour of the city's preparations on Thursday.

One year ahead of the opening ceremony, Delhi is struggling to convince event organisers that it will be able to host a successful Games in a city notorious for traffic congestion, pollution and infrastructure chaos.

Delhi Traffic Police has put up notice that residents must not use most key city centre routes throughout the day, and maps published in newspapers highlighted which roads would be cleared for Games delegates between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm.

A recent study by the state-run Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) said six million vehicles travelled New Delhi's roads, with 900 added every day.

The move has not gone down well with Delhi drivers who already face congested roads and long traffic jams made worse by the hectic construction activity ahead of the Games.

Delhiites were unanimous in highlighting that it would have been good to give the delegates a taste of traffic management. This would have resulted in Delhi government taking steps faster to improve the situation.

30,000 volunteers for emergency care during CWG

As many as 30,000 volunteers fluent in English, will be trained to help people and reach them to hospitals in time in case of accidents during the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG). The first batch of 200 such youngsters has already been rolled out for the ongoing CWG General Assembly here.

The volunteers are being trained by an NGO, Philanthrope, along with the organising committee of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Philanthrope has developed diverse modules for safety training and will adapt and customize these to suit the requirements outlined to by the Organising Committee/.

“It helps common people handle situations calmly, competently and methodically in a crisis and thus avert a potential fatality or risk. As has been said ‘prevention is better than cure’, and we are gratified at being entrusted with this important mandate.”, added Philanthrope's representative.

The volunteers would be above 18 years of age, physically fit, fluent in English and with no criminal records.

The first batch of 200 volunteers was trained during a workshop last week and has been working during the General Assembly Oct 6-13. The remaining would be trained in groups from now till June 2010.

According to research carried out by NGO, knowledge on emergency help measures is very low even among the educated in India and people live with many myths and misconceptions, which often lead to accidents or injuries being handled wrongly. The measures deployed will lead to saving lives, decreasing deaths from injuries and accidents as mishandling of victims by relatives/bystanders often leads to worsening of injuries and sometimes such mistakes cost the lives of their loved ones.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Women's helpdesk for Commonwealth Games

Keeping in mind the safety concerns of women during the Commonwealth Games next year, the Delhi government Tuesday announced a plan to establish 'gender help desks' at various places across the city.

The helpdesks will be established at entry points like airports, railway stations, interstate bus terminals, all sports stadiums and the Commonwealth Games Village. They will be managed by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).

Delhi's CM Sheila Dixit explained, 'Addressing gender is not only about providing support services, it is also about gender appropriate behaviour. We need to work with a large number of support agencies to ensure that everybody is aware of respecting the rights of women, their rights to privacy, their right not to be touched in an inappropriate manner.'

'Gender appropriate behaviour also includes ensuring the use of appropriate language in the presence of women,' she said.

Dikshit said the objectives of gender help desks is not only to promote the safety of women but also to guide other stakeholders in maintaining appropriate conduct during the Commonwealth Games.

The help desks will start functioning at all locations two weeks ahead of the event. They will have trained staff and will be operational round the clock at entry points and for 16 hours a day at the stadiums.

The desks will have information about services available, emergency transport facilities, access to emergency shelters and emergency medical care as well as access to the police. 'A toll-free number would also be available 24 hours for distress calls. These desks would work in collaboration with the hospitality service providers, police, embassies and the resident commissioners of other states,' an official statement said.

Commonwealth Games rights to go to UK company

Britain's Satellite Information Services (SIS) is set to win the production rights to broadcast next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi for India's public broadcaster Doordarshan. The London-based company has been chosen out of the five shortlisted for production and coverage facilities in high definition television (HDTV). The matter has been referred to India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry to be formally confirmed.

SIS Live, formed in 1986 when bookmakers took the opportunity to broadcast live racing in their shops for the first time. The company is owned jointly by Ladbrokes, Thales (Racal), United News & Media, William Hill Organisation, the Racecourse Association and the Tote.

Now received in virtually all British and Irish betting shops, together with 300 outlets in Western Europe - a total of 9,500 shops - it is also broadcasts to betting outlets in the Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Italy and countries in the former Soviet Union.

The company has since expanded in other areas and now has the largest satellite uplink fleet in Europe and covers 100,000 hours of live events worldwide each year, including Formula One, Wimbledon, UEFA Champions League football and European Tour Golf,

Experts estimate the winning company will charge up to $500 million (£306 million) to cover the 11-day event which opens on October 3, 2010, and which is expected to attract 8,500 competitors from 71 countries.

The other shortlisted group was Indian company Nimbus Communications which had come in a consortium with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as lead partner.

The others who had initially filed an Expression of Interest were Big Productions in consortium with the Beijing branch of Interpublic Marketing Services (Shanghai) Ltd. and Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. as the lead partners; Nimbus Sports International Pte Ltd of Singapore in consortium with International Sports Broadcasting of the United States as the lead partner; and International Games Broadcast Services of Switzerland.

Sheila Dixit submits Commonwealth Games report to PM

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who's been facing criticism for running behind schedule on projects for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, met prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to submit a progress report.

This was Dikshit's first meeting with the PM afterGames Federation chief Michael Fennell wrote to him expressing concern overDelhi's ability to host the Games from October 3, 2010. However, Dikshit gave an assurance that all efforts are being taken to make the sporting extravaganza a great success and that all the projects will be completed well in time.

Dikshit told the PM that her administration was doing its best to complete the projects before the deadline, but said Fennell's letter should not have been "leaked" to the media.
Dikshit has been upset with the letter that raised doubts whether Delhi would match the standards set by earlier hosts Melbourne and Manchester.

After the review meeting, the prime minister asked the sports minister to coordinate with Indian Olympic Association officials to fine-tune preparations.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Spurcing up Delhi's Heritage

What happens when one of the most arcaeologically rich cities hosts a sporting event second only to the Olympics? Tourists get twice the fun for the price of one. While attending Commonwealth Games 2010, they can slip out any time to visit any of the 1,200 heritage monuments this city has to offer.

With as many as three world heritage sites — the Qutab Minar complex, Humayun’s Tomb complex and Red Fort complex — to boast of, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is getting ready to showcase the legacy of the Capital during the Games.

Of the 175 ASI-protected monuments, work has begun on sprucing up 46 of them.

"These monuments are mostly important ones like the world heritage sites and also those on the routes of Games venues. The list also includes a few lesser known monuments,” said KN Shrivastava, ASI director-general.

Conservation and/or repair work will be carried out at most monuments. For instance, the Tughlaqabad Fort wall and the Siri Fort wall are being restored to their original glory.

The ASI is carrying out chemical treatment at a few monuments that need cleaning up. “The residents and regular visitors to the Hauz Khas area are witness to how the black colour on most of the monuments due to moss has given way to a clean sandstone yellow (or the original colour of the monuments) after chemical treatment,” said an ASI official.

“The landscape around helps build its ambience. So we are focusing on environmental development like lawns and other horticulture interventions,” said an official from the horticulture branch.

Tourists can also enjoy ‘Delhi at Night’. India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has identified more than 20 monuments and these are being lighted up by ITDC.

While the world heritage sites have basic public utilities like toilets and drinking water, they aren’t available at all 46 monuments. Plans are afoot to provide these facilities at all of them. Uniform brown stone signage would also come up at all sites.

“The additional facilities would include publication counters that will have brochures telling the history of the place, audio guides, cafeterias and the like as available at the three world heritage sites,” said another ASI official.


Stars galore to promote Commonwealth Games

With the countdown for the Commonwealth Games 2010 having begun, the organisers are roping in celebrities from different walks of life to promote the mega event.

The star cast has been drawn by the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games. Bollywood will be represented by Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif.  This provides lot of glamour quotient to the international event to be held in the Capital in October next year.

Others on the list include Oscar winning musician A R Rahman, actors Rahul Bose, Nana Patekar and John Abraham, lyricist Javed Akhtar, classical instrumental musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.

Sports personalities - Sania Mirza, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Saina Nehwal, Vijender Kumar, Abhinav Bindra, Raghvendra Rathore, Dhanraj Pillai, Jeev Milkha Singh and Baichung Bhutia have also been shortlisted as the likely brand ambassadors for the sporting event.

Sources said that the OC has already sent letters to some of the prominent sportspersons, actors, musicians and media personalities requesting them to promote the event.

Celebrities like Nafisa Ali and Shobha De, designers Ritu Beri and Rohit Bal, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, businessman Anil Ambani, Neeta Ambani and environmentalist Dr R K Pachauri are likely to be roped in for promoting the event.

In the media category, the organizers have shortlisted Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd managing director Vineet Jain, chairperson and editorial director of HT Media Shobhana Bhartia, president and chairman of NDTV group Prannoy Roy, admen Prasoon Joshi and Piyush Pandey and wildlife filmmaker Mike Pandey.

OC sources said the brand ambassadors will promote the event. They will also participate in the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.
Related Posts with Thumbnails we are in

Sport Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory blogarama - the blog directory Sports blogs blog directory Blog Directory Golden - Links Web Directory Blog Collector Free Website Directory

Blog Directory Blog Directory

Follow this site

Link exchange | Internet Marketing