Friday, 30 April 2010

Manx team to attend Delhi games

The Manx Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) has decided to send a team to this year's Delhi games after India gave assurances over security.

Organisation behind the games, which opens on 3 October, has been under scrutiny since bomb blasts at a Bangalore cricket match on 17 April.

The announcement follows England's confirmation on Wednesday that it would be sending a team.

The CGA's Tonia Lushington said she was confident the team would remain safe.

"We are very positive that there's a high level of security going on in India," she said.

"They're getting very professional advice about security and we're very happy that everything is in place for a great games."

NTPC to commission 2 plants before Games

Being the official partner of the Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in New Delhi in October, NTPC is gearing up to commission its two plants in Dadri and Jhajjar.

"Power for the Commonwealth Games will be supplied from the Dadri coal-based thermal plant and Jhajjar unit," NTPC's regional executive director (North & East) I B Pandey said on Friday.

NTPC was taking all necessary steps to ensure that both the projects were commissioned well before the Games, he said.

While unit-II of Dadri power station in UP would have a capacity of 490 MW, the total capacity of two units of Jhajjar in Haryana would be 1,000 MW, Pandey added.

CWG preparations: Gurgaon traffic cops hit the gym

The Gurgaon Police has sent several of its senior traffic officers to the training barracks to shape up before the Commonwealth Games.

The Games and the wide exposure it will bring for the National Capital Region are reasons enough to lose the belly, the top brass has warned juniors. It has decided to pull out several “potbellied” traffic officers and replace them with those who are more energetic and fighting fit.

The police top brass has noticed for long that the more portly officers tend to throw their weight around rather than do their job.

A recent medical check-up of all Gurgaon police officers, including that of the senior rung in the commissionerate, has shown that many are unhealthy; some are even ailing. Most cops blamed the tough work schedules for their condition.

They pointed out the unruly traffic in the Millennium City was a mean snarl, not easy to tame. Seniors, many said, lacked the required degree of fitness.

At present, nearly 267 policemen direct traffic in the city. Almost an equal number need to be recruited in the traffic department before the Games, sources said. The force also has over three dozen women traffic constables.

The traffic police are also expected to be on top behaviour with violators. Gurgaon’s Police Commissioner S S Deswal said: “It is important for traffic officers to maintain decorum on duty. They should be polite to commuters, specially to women. We also expect women constables to behave properly with traffic violators.”

Grewal added the traffic officer’s work is the toughest. They have difficult work conditions, and are always caught in the thick of pollution, he said. And to add to it all are the rowdy drivers.

Grewal said senior traffic officers have already been sent to police lines for a rigorous programme that will include several hours in the gym.

Other senior officers, including the assistant commissioner of the traffic department, are keeping a hawk’s eye on how traffic policemen on the road are going about their job.

CGE to conduct poll to decide CWG anthem

Commonwealth Games England (CGE) will let the nation decide which anthem will be played at the New Delhi Games after launching a competition that will allow the public to vote online.

Voters can choose between God Save The Queen, Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory - with the winner becoming the official anthem of the England Team to be played on the podium in Delhi, as well as at the welcoming ceremony when the St. George’s flag is raised.

Edward Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory is the current anthem but was criticised during Manchester's Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Duncan Lewis, Marketing Director for Commonwealth Games England, said, “We’re really excited that the nation will be deciding our anthem for the Games.

"Everybody has their own opinion on what should be played, and having the public actively involved in the team’s decision making is great. Their involvement represents everything that we’re trying to achieve with our inclusive ‘We Are England’ brand – bringing the whole of the country together”.

Scottish athletes voted for Flower of Scotland to be their official national anthem for Delhi earlier this year.

Scotland the Brave had been used at previous games, but athletes voted by 211 to 15 in favour of Flower of Scotland.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

CWG participants not allowed to bring armed security

Countries participating in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games will not be allowed to bring their own armed security personnel into India, in spite of ongoing security issues surrounding the October event.

Instead, international teams that want to enhance the "stringent" security arrangements will be permitted to have security personnel, acting in an informal advisory role only, added to team staff.

This comes as the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mike Hooper, based in New Delhi, said he was in constant discussion with deputy high commissioners of Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Australia about the security matters.

He said no country has withdrawn from participating in the Games, which features about 8000 participants - including new Commonwealth addition Rwanda. Rwanda has indicated it will send a team of 100 athletes to the Games and its inclusion, coupled with the ommission of Fiji, which lost an appeal to compete in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, brings the total number of competing countries to 71. England officials said their team will total about 400.

Athletes around the globe have been nervous about the Games in the wake of the Mumbai bombings in November 2008 which killed more than 300 people and the Bangalore bombings outside a Premier League cricket match earlier this year.

"The security arrangements have been put in place by the Delhi government and the Delhi police and this is a responsibility they are taking very seriously and there is nothing to suggest that won't be the case," Hooper said.

"There will be nothing to stop security advisors to accompany teams, that is normal sensible planning but they won't be armed - if people say they wanted to come to London and bring their own weapons, what would the London security people do, it isn't on."

Hooper indicated that he was more concerned about the key venues being completed in time to allow the organizers time to set up.

However, the CGF chairman Mike Fennell upgraded his assessment of the main stadium, the aquatics venue and the cycling velodrome from "it is distressing" back in December to a recent "I am concerned".

"They have to be finished, because they must be," said Hooper. He said other concerns about food safety and traffic congestion had been addressed by the New Delhi organisers. There will be food testing and strict hygience standards within the Games village.

"There has been a dramatic change in the city infrastructure and my journey into the city from the airport now takes half the time it used to because of new flyovers and the metro is about to open in July which will be a big benefit too," he said.

Delhi govt to counsel workers at Games sites

With the Delhi High Court keeping an eye on violation of labour laws at Commonwealth Games construction sites, the Delhi government has decided to approach the workers by organising awareness camps.

These camps will be organised between May 1 and 7 at all nine districts of the city, the court was told on Wednesday. The workers would be told about their rights relating to wages, safety measures and other beneficial schemes at these camps.

The government has also formed a six-member committee to simplify disbursement of various benefits to labourers working on projects for the October 3-14 sporting event.

A court-appointed monitoring committee had earlier indicted all government authorities involved in Games projects for appalling work conditions at these construction sites.

In reply, the government’s counsel on Wednesday submitted a status report before a Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Doctors to undergo training to treat CBRN injuries

Thirty-five Delhi government doctors are undergoing training in treatment of chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) injuries following Monday’s death of one of scrap dealers due to radiation exposure in Mayapuri. The training began at the AIIMS Trauma Centre on Wednesday.

“We want to be prepared for all eventualities during the Commonwealth Games. We already have a line of treatment for victims who suffer CBRN injuries,” Delhi Health minister Kiran Walia said.

Meanwhile, doctors said Deepak Jain, 31, the scrap shop owner who is stated to be critical following exposure to radiation, will undergo a bone marrow transplant at Army Research and Referral (RR) Hospital.

The incident occured a few days ago when medical equipment was sold by one of Delhi universities in an auction. The medical equipment manufactured about 30 years ago contained traces of Cobalt-60. However, the scrap dealer failed to take precautions while handling the equipment.

Jain was transferred from Indraprastha Apollo Hospital to RR Hospital on Tuesday. His bone marrow was significantly suppressed due to exposure to the radioactive source when he was admitted; a hospital spokesperson said his condition is stable now.

Rahman gets mega-deal for Commonwealth theme song

A.R. Rahman, revered for his soul-stirring music and recently bestowed the Padma Vibhushan by the government, will be paid close to Rs 5.5 crore by the Games' Organising Committee (OC) for composing the opening ceremony theme song.

(Watch video of Commonwealth Games theme song)

(Read: 'Gateway to your heart' - CWG anthem composed by Euphoria)

Sources confirmed that Rahman would also be associated with 'promotional events' relating to the October 3-14 sporting extravaganza to be held in the Capital.

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Hectic parleys have been going on between Rahman's agents and OC officials for quite some time now. Sources said the initial demand from the music guru was close to Rs 15 crore, but later settled for lesser amount because CWG is a national event. The OC will either request government to exempt income tax payment on this amount, or will foot the bill. All this was recently cleared by the OC's executive committee which met in New Delhi.

(Read: 'Swagatham - Rahman's Commonwealth Games theme song')

(Watch video of Commonwealth Games theme song)

The expenditure on Commonwealth Games is being critized recently. Delhi has committed to best ever opening ceremony and has committed a sum of Rs 200 crore for the opening and closing ceremonies. However, many stakeholders find this expenditure outrageous. Despite demands that every rupee spent should be accounted for, insiders say people are spending money on events not directly related to the Games.

Commonwealth Games OC members have divergent views on spending 5.5 crores for theme song. The point is that when athletes in India are struggling to get money and facilities to hire the best coaches in the business, funds being spent on the cultural extravaganza are hard to justify.

CGE says 'yes' to Commonwealth Games

English athletes are given the go-ahead to travel to Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in October.

There had been speculation that the English team would pull out of the Games because of security fears.

But Commonwealth Games England (CGE) is set to write to all its sports governing bodies informing them that the team will go to India.

CGE has been receiving regular security updates from Delhi, and the assessment is that it will be safe to travel.

The Commonwealth Games, which open on 3 October, will be the biggest multi-sport event in India since the Asian Games in 1982 with 71 nations expected to take part.

Unlike the Olympic Games where Britain competes under the Team GB banner, there are separate teams for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at the Commonwealths.

Fresh concerns had been raised about the security situation in India after bomb blasts injured 15 people before an Indian Premier League cricket match in Bangalore on 17 April. But Sir Andrew Foster, the chairman of CGE, told the BBC: "England's intention is to compete at the Games and we are currently making arrangements to create the best possible environment for success in Delhi.

"Our team will be the biggest England team for an overseas Games to date, with an anticipated team size of more than 550, including nearly 400 athletes.

"Security is something we and the Delhi 2010 organising committee take very seriously. We have taken, and will continue to take, expert advice on the situation."

The current official Foreign Office advice is that there are "increased indications that terrorists are planning attacks in New Delhi".

Commonwealth Games England, though, is confident that athletes will be safe in India, and one senior official working for the Delhi organisers recently described the security plans as foolproof.

In March, Delhi hosted the Hockey World Cup without any problems.

Athletes will be told that if they are picked for the team they will be free to withdraw if they do not wish to take part in the Games.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Commonwealth Games curtain raiser on Doordarshan

National broadcaster Doordarshan has initiated promotion of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games with four production houses being assigned series of programmes intended to lift the sporting event.

One of the four companies that have bagged these programmes on DD is Weshiv Wision, well known for its sports related productions in the past, which would be presenting twenty six episodes as a curtain raiser to the Commonwealth Games. Being filmed in an interesting & entertaining manner, these weekly series would be telecast on DD prime time from mid May onwards and would be anchored by reality TV actor Pravesh Rana, whose kids dance reality show Chak Dhoom Dhoom is slated for a premier on Colours on April 30th.

Being filmed by well known television film maker Vijay Sharma, the program is titled "On the mark, get, set, go" and would also feature prominent personalities from the realm of films, theatre, government, corporate & diplomatic world & media. "Film maker Tigmanshu Dhulia, cine actor Gulshan Grover, fashion designer Sanjana Jon, Padamshree awardee Dr Sanjeev Bagai, pop singer DJ Narain, business author & corporate honcho Saugata Mitra, sportspersons like Bhishen Singh Bedi, Bhaichung Bhutia, Ashok Kumar & Indu Puri are amongst those expected to feature on the show," informed CEO Brandsmith Rahul Mittra & the chief consultant to the project.

The show's track has been composed by popular band Medieval Pundits, led by crooner Karsh Kale and the programme would also feature Gitanjali Kumar & model Shaina Sheikh. More than 75 celebrities are expected to express their approval for the unprecedented conduct of the Commonwealth Games 2010.

Delhi finalizes crisis management plan for CWG

The Delhi Police has made each major games venue the responsibility of a senior official to ensure quick response to any threat or contingency that may arise during the Commonwealth Games.

The officials have been empowered to take immediate action including force deployment and seeking support from other security agencies without going through normal bureaucratic channels.

This 'crisis management plan' has been finalised in consultation with paramilitary forces like the National Security Guard and the Central Reserve Police Force and local bodes like the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Fire Service.

"Each games venue will be supervised by a deputy commissioner of police, additional commissioner of police or joint commissioner of police. They will be responsible for guarding it and deploying resources in case of any contingency," a senior police official said.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Delhi markets to close during opening, closing ceremonies

Delhi Police wants all major Delhi markets to be closed on the opening and closing days of the Commonwealth Games 2010. The opening ceremony of the 11-day sporting extravaganza will be held on October 3 and the closing ceremony will be held on October 14, both at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The list of markets which the cops want shut on those two days include Khan Market, Chandni Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Lajpat Nagar, Rajouri Garden, and others which are popular with foreign nationals.

The Delhi Police advisory was sent to various market associations, with the cops asking shop owners to help manage the mega event. Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, ‘‘We have asked the market associations for their support as that will help Delhi Police manage the Games and manpower can then be utilized in other places.”

Another senior officer of Delhi Police said the closure of the markets will reduce the burden of law and order on Delhi Police. There will be less traffic and we will be able to focus on security for the Games.

Since it is an 11-day sporting event, our resources will be exhausted. The markets can stay open on their weekly offs in lieu of the days they are being asked to shut down,” said an officer. The opening ceremony will take place on October 3, a Sunday, while the closing ceremony will be held on October 14, which is a Thursday and which is likely to be declared a national holiday by the government.

President of Khan Market Association, Sanjeev Mehra, however, said, ‘‘We will cooperate with the police. It’s a question of national honour and we want to extend our support. All shopkeepers will follow the advisory. Sales will suffer but there was no need for the police to use coercion when asking for markets to be shut down.”

Friday, 23 April 2010

British Media accreditation and briefing

The media accreditation process is now open for English media representatives wishing to attend the Commonwealth Games in Delhi which takes place from October 3–14.

Commonwealth Games England (CGE) is the organisation responsible for accrediting English media for the Games. Contact# to ask queries about the process is 01225 443998.

Accreditation is an online system for the Commonwealth Games. The deadline for return of information and applying for the accreditation is 27-May.

You will also need to decide the category of media accreditation for which you wish to apply when you complete your form and return it. This is the field marked “function” on the form. The categories are:

E General writer/journalist needing access to several venues/sports
Es Sports specific journalist needing access to one sport only
EP General photographer needing access to several venues/sports
EPs Sport specific photographer, needing access to one sport
ENR Broadcast organisations who are not rights-holders.

Each application must include a .jpeg photograph, the file to be less than 50kb. It needs to be a recent and true likeness, in colour, a head and shoulders shot only, showing full face, taken against a plain background, and with no hats, hair bands or dark glasses.

The file name for the photograph must be your name (given and family name) as per your application form.

Once accredited, you will be issued with a Non Valid Pass (NVP) which will be validated on arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Members of the international media will also have the option of validating their NVP at the Media Accreditation Centre. Those applying after our deadline of May 27 will not be issued with a NVP and will have to apply for an Indian visa through the Indian High Commission.

Media hotels, telecommunications, car hire, car parking etc
Delhi 2010 organisers have issued information on media accommodation options and these can be found with the booking form at under the Accommodation heading.
Also available is a Rate Card for the media which catalogues prices and availability of car hire, equipment, telecommunications, broadband, private office space in the Main Press Centre etc.

If you have not yet done so, it would be good to book your accommodation now. Rooms in the official media hotels are on the all-important Games transport loop and will go quickly. The Media Rate Card can be found on the Delhi website (click on Press Operations and proceed from there) and the deadline for orders is June 1.

All media representatives who have accredited for India will get response by e-mail with further information in late June/early July and a further update in September.

Media briefing
CGE plans to hold a media briefing for journalists intending to make the trip to Delhi. This will be in the next six weeks in London.

BBC to telecast Commonwealth Games

The BBC has announced that it has won the broadcasting rights for 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi.

(Read our Commonwealth Games opening ceremony coverage)

The Games will be available across TV, radio, online, iPlayer, mobile and new media outlets across the UK.

"We're delighted to have the exclusive rights for the UK," BBC Sport's head of major events Dave Gordon was quoted as saying on the BBC website.

"The Games mark another step for athletes across the world as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics."

"We have a rich history of covering the Commonwealth Games and are looking forward to bringing the best of the action to the UK public," he said.

With a total of 17 sports, the Commonwealth Games are considered the third largest multi-sport event in the world, behind the Olympics and the Football world cup.

A BBC spokesman insisted full precautions would be taken to protect the staff covering the event in Delhi, considering the security concerns in the subcontinent.

"We never discuss our security plans in advance, but we will naturally be taking all necessary steps, as we always do, to ensure the safety of all members of the BBC team," said the spokesman.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Delhi Police to secure CWG venues one month in advance.!!

The Delhi Police wants control of all Commonwealth Games venues one month before the event starts on October 3 to conduct security drills, checks and rehearsals for thousands of police personnel to be deployed.

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, “We have made all arrangements and are ready. In fact, we recently provided security successfully for the trial games, Hockey World Cup and the IPL matches in Delhi. The process of recruiting 12,000 police officials for the Games is almost over and they will be deployed in June or July.”

Giving details of security arrangements for the Games, a senior officer told Newsline that besides the 12,000 new recruits, the police would deploy its whole force of 74,000 personnel during the Games. Besides, about 170 companies of central paramilitary forces and reserve forces would also be deployed.

An officer said the police gave details and demonstration of security arrangements to the Games Federation in four meetings held in the past, as also to representatives of various Commonwealth countries who came here recently to inspect the arrangements.

“The plan was appreciated by all representatives,” the officer said.

According to the officer, there would be a four-layered protection — outer, middle, inner, and exclusive security zones — at the stadiums, practice venues, parking lots and hotels of athletes, as also the airport.

Based on security inputs, the police have identified 500 vital installations and sites in Delhi as ‘sensitive’ to terror attacks.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Oceania supports Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bid

A dozen Oceanic nations have pledged support for the Gold Coast's Commonwealth Games bid, indicating the city could already have a third of the votes needed to clinch the 2018 event.

Oceania Commonwealth Games regional vice-president Tapasu Leung Ming Wai yesterday said the 12 Oceania countries in the Commonwealth backed the Coast over its Sri Lankan rival Hambantota.

"We had a meeting in Fiji a few weeks ago where there was talk about the Gold Coast bid and supporting the idea," said Mr Leung Ming Wai.

"We see it as a bid on behalf of Oceania.

"Logistically it is closer to us than Sri Lanka and we would support it security-wise."

Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief Perry Crosswhite is now in the midst of political jostling, firming up securing votes from the 71 member nations that will decide the Gold Coast's hosting fate.

He said securing the 12 votes of Oceania, which includes Samoa, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, was a major step toward getting the 36 votes needed to clinch the Games.

"We are full-steam ahead looking at the strategy and politics now and getting people who are going to support us in November 2011 at the General Assembly when the vote happens," he said.

"There are six regions in the Commonwealth and we would hope to get strong support from Europe, the Americas and Caribbean.

"I expect Asia will have some sympathy for Sri Lanka."

Mr Crosswhite said the bid team had already sought tips from Glasgow, which will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and would be picking the brains of the Delhi 2010 team currently in Australia for the Queen's Baton Relay.

"Premier Anna Bligh had a meeting with Glasgow where they gave us a lot of information," he said.

Mr Crosswhite said that the bid would be centred around hosting a smaller Commonwealth Games in a regional city as opposed to previous years where it has been held in larger cities.

He expected that would be more appealing, because it opened up opportunities for smaller cities to bid for future games. "We think that is what the Commonwealth Games Federation wants and I think it will be a vote-getter," he said.

Flight chaos hits Commonwealth Games briefing

Flight chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano has scuppered plans for Australia's 2018 bid team to meet with Commonwealth Games officials in London this weekend.

Representatives from the Gold Coast and Hambantota in Sri Lanka were due to attend a briefing at Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) headquarters on Friday and Saturday.

But CGF chief executive Mike Hooper said the meeting, where the bid hopefuls were to learn more about putting together their plans to host the event and what is required of them, would be postponed to June or July.

"Courtesy of Iceland volcano, it didn't happen," Hooper told by phone on Wednesday from his home in New Delhi, where he was stranded after his flight to London was cancelled.

"We're now looking to reschedule the briefing session and we're just trying to find a time suitable to ourselves and the bids.

"I suspect we'll defer it to late June or July as a consequence."

Flights were disrupted around the globe after European airspace was closed for days amid fears an ash cloud from the volcano could clog plane engines.

With the 2010 Commonwealth Games due to start in India in October, time will be tight to squeeze in a briefing beforehand.

"It's a hectic time, as you'd expect, this close to the Games," Hooper said.

If the Gold Coast is chosen to host the 2018 Games, the Queensland government plans to spend $11 million on its bid and invest more than $1 billion in infrastructure, including an upgraded aquatic centre, new velodrome and athletes' village.

It faces competition from the surprise bid by Hambantota, located on the south coast of Sri Lanka with a population of about 500,000.

The winning city will be announced in November 2011.

Delhi monuments to get cafeteria, souvenir shops

Red Fort and Qutub Minar will be among the four monuments in Delhi to have cafes which will provide sustenance to tourists expected during the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October. The other two of the four monuments identified by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to have cafeterias are the Humayun Tomb and Purana Qila.

“Special efforts are underway for upgradation of basic tourist amenities at 11 monuments, including Qutub Minar, Red Fort and Safdarjung Tomb in view of the Commonwealth Games 2010. There is a proposal to provide small cafeterias at four and souvenir shops in six most visited monuments,” Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy informed the Lok Sabha Wednesday.

An ASI official told “The four monuments which will have cafeterias are the Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Humayun Tomb and Purana Qila. The four will also have souvenir shops, in addition to Jantar Mantar and Safdarjung Tomb.”

Talking about the 46 centrally-protected monuments identified by ASI for a facelift before the Games, Narayanasamy said: “These monuments are spruced up to make them presentable keeping in view the forthcoming mega-event.”

“The main items of work include repairing of the monuments, improving the pathways, repair and painting of boundary walls, providing new or improving existing toilets, drinking water facilities, publication counters, signages, chemical preservation, environmental development and illumination,” he added.

The illumination work has been completed in Purana Qila, Khairul Manzil Mosque, Sher Shah Gate, Sabz Burz and Safdarjung Tomb, the minister said.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Hassle free stay for tourists, no touts allowed

In view of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, the Federal government of India has asked state governments in the National Capital Region, comprising parts of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, to enact legislations on the lines of the proposed Delhi Prevention of Malpractices and Touting Bill, 2009, to make their areas tout-free and ensure hassle-free and safe movement of tourists during the mega sporting event in October.

Delhi government has issued mandate to allow only licensed operators to arrange tours in Delhi.

The Centre is bringing the Delhi Prevention of Malpractices and Touting Bill, 2009, designed with tourism-specific initiatives of the Delhi Government. The Tourism Ministry considered the draft in February and requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to take up the proposed Bill well ahead of the CWG. The Bill is with the Home Ministry after being approved by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tajender Khanna.

Sources say the legislation not only empowers the police to arrest touts but also has provisions for making them “out of bound” from the city for six months to one year. The Ministry of Tourism had written to the chief secretaries of three NCR states, asking them to consider the need for enacting similar legislations in their states “for the sake of hassle-free movement of tourists and provide them better safety”.

The government is expecting around one lakh tourists during the CWG and some estimates even peg the figure at two lakh. The proposed Bill mandates that touts fleecing shoppers, tourists and others face speedy trial. In fact, just a complaint by affected tourists will be enough for effecting an arrest, with the provision of imprisonment of one to two years, along with fine.

Budget hotels seek redressal of their demands

Delhi Hotel & Restaurant Owners’ Association, an umbrella organization of budget and guest house owners in Delhi are concerned about the indifference of various government agencies towards the issues raised by them almost a year ago. Many of the budget hotels do not have permission to run kitchen-cum-dining facilities and bars. While, these facilities are considered basic from hospitality industry's perspective, Delhi rules mandate separate licensing for the facilities. Also, there are issues related to taxation, usage of natural resources amongst others.

The Association has once again decided to approach different departments of the government, like Union Tourism Ministry, Delhi government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi with their list of demands. Sandeep Khandelwal, President, Delhi Hotel & Restaurant Owners’ Association said, “It would be better if we close down our guest houses during the Games rather than bringing bad name to the country by not offering the facilities which an international traveller would be looking from us.”

The Association wants the renewal period of licences to be raised from present one year to three years. In spite of orders from a top government official in this regard, the licences are still renewed annually, alleges the Association. Permission to operate kitchen, dining hall and bar to service in-house guests has been a long pending demand of guest house owners in Delhi.

“We have got assurance in this regard from Sheila Dixit, Chief Minister, Delhi in October last year. But, till date nothing has been done,” informed Khandelwal. “International travellers expect these basic services during their stay, especially at times like Commonwealth Games. If we are not able to meet these basic necessities of our guests, it would bring bad name for the country as a whole,” he added.

The Association wants Delhi Jal Board to provide potable water to these establishments all day or permit them to dig bore well in their premises. Other demands include easing of luxury tax and conversion charges and easy finance and incentives to modernise facilities in guest houses before the Commonwealth Games. “The government which gives tax holiday for classified hotels should extend such incentives to guest houses also,” Khandelwal demanded.

Recently, Ministry of Tourism has identified more than 11,000 approved guest house rooms in Delhi to be utilised for Commonwealth Games.

England swimming team for Common wealth Games

England has selected 29 swimmers to participate in Commonwealth Games.

(Read: Final list of England swimmers for Commonwealth Games)

A further 13 swimmers can earn selection at the European Championships in August and the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sunderland.

The England team:

Women: Rebecca Adlington; Achieng Ajulu-Bushell; Ellen Gandy; Francesca Halsall; Joanne Jackson; Sasha Matthews; Keri-Anne Payne; Elizabeth Simmonds; Amy Smith; Gemma Spofforth; Jessica Sylvester; Stacey Tadd; Rebecca Turner; Aimee Willmott; Katherine Wyld

Men: Robert Bale; Adam Brown; Simon Burnett; Ross Davenport; Daniel Fogg; James Goddard; Thomas Parris; Roberto Pavoni; Michael Rock; Joseph Roebuck; Liam Tancock; Grant Turner; Christopher Walker-Hebborn; Richard Webb.

England release first list of swimmers for CWG

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and world champions Liam Tancock and Gemma Spofforth have all been selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

The trio are among a 29-strong swimming team who will travel to India for the Games which take place from October 3 to 14 but a notable absentee at this point is Olympic and world medallist Joanne Jackson, whose ongoing health problems have decimated her season so far.

The 23-year-old's training has been pretty much obliterated by the severe asthma brought on by flu and a chest infection.

(Click here to see list of British swimmers for Commonwealth Games.)

As a result of having to breathe so much harder, Jackson's ribs have been popping out during training and at the recent British Gas Championships in Sheffield, which served as the first Commonwealth trials as well as GB selection for the European Championships in Budapest in August, the Loughborough swimmer was unable to speak after the 200metres freestyle final in which she came third.

Jackson then withdrew from the 800m and did not take up her place in the 400m final, won by Adlington.

By virtue of her efforts over four lengths, Jackson booked at least a relay spot on the 4x200m freestyle relay squad for Budapest and she has two more chances to qualify for Delhi.

Other notable names for Delhi include world 100m freestyle silver medallist Fran Halsall, double world backstroke finalist Lizzie Simmonds, who has been on scorching form this year, Keri-Anne Payne, world open water champion who will focus on the pool and Achieng Ajulu-Bushell who has been selected for England for the first time after deciding to switch sporting nationality from Kenya.

Up-and-coming swimmers Aimee Wilmott and Rebecca Turner will also travel to Delhi.

Tancock heads the men's team as he looks to claim the 50m and 100m backstroke double after taking silver and gold four years ago along with Simon Burnett and Ross Davenport, who each won double gold in Melbourne.

The likes of James Goddard, 200m backstroke champion eight years ago in Manchester, will be joined by highly-rated prospects Roberto Pavoni, Robert Bale and Adam Brown, who all won in Sheffield recently.

Craig Hunter, chef de mission of the England team in Delhi, said: "I'd like to welcome our first group of swimmers to the England team for Delhi and wish them the very best in their continuing preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games."

John Atkinson, England's swimming team leader, said: "The swimmers selected for the England team can now begin their preparations for Delhi in earnest. For the others that didn't meet the qualification criteria there are still 13 places available on the team.

"Having an early trials will give the selected swimmers the chance to have a longer preparations and the later trials gives those swimmers that are hitting form later in the year a chance to make the team," he added.

"I look forward to seeing the performances at our later trials as the athletes try to qualify for the Games."

A further 13 swimmers can earn selection at the European Championships in August and the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sunderland.

There have been security concerns surrounding the Games following a number of incidents in India, the most recent at the weekend when the Indian Premier League match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians was delayed due to two bomb explosions outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Of the security issues, Adlington has complete faith in the team bosses.

She told "They send us out emails all the time about security and I think if any individual swimmer has a real concern we raise that issue with the bosses and go to them directly.

"At the minute we are still planning on going and will still hopefully be able to compete but if anything happens in the meantime just straight away they would pull out because they have got our best interests at heart and they want us to do well as well.

"They are on top of it so we leave it in their hands."

Monday, 19 April 2010

Queen's baton in Sydney

The 19th Commonwealth Games baton passed through Sydney yesterday with the promise of building new relations between India and Australia.

At a function last night celebrating the XIX Commonwealth Games being held 3-14 October in Delhi India, the High Commissioner of India the Honorable Mrs Sujatha Singh welcomed the Queen's Baton relay to Sydney.

The High Commissioner said this is a great day for India and Australia relations.

Symbolising the shared ideals of Commonwealth nations, what binds India and Australia are not only the three "C's" Cricket, Curry and the Commonwealth, but the vibrant multi cultural democracies of both countries and the Commonwealth Games are helping build bridges of friendship and understanding said Mrs Singh.

Dipen Rughani, President of the Australia India Business Council said two years of lobbying was successful in bringing the baton to Sydney (originally planned to only visit Melbourne) arriving in Harris Park, Sydney's "Little India", where tensions were raised last year by attacks on Australian-based Indian students. The Baton was also welcomed at a civic ceremony at Parramatta's Town Hall and visited Sydney's famous Opera House

The Baton was carried by Nathan Hindemarsh, Kieren Perkins and other Olympic and Commonwealth Games sporting legends.

Visiting all 71 countries participating in the games, the baton is travelling some 190,000 kms to 100 cities, the longest baton relay in Commonwealth games history in the 167 day lead up to the opening ceremony.

India is fast becoming a popular destination for Australians with 150,000 arrivals in 2009. The GFC saw a 3.3% decline in visitor numbers last year, though the first quarter of 2010 looks promising with visa issuance up 43.67% said Krishna R. Arya, Regional Director India Tourism Australasia

Due to the Games India expects a rush of visa requests and promises visa issuance will not be subject to any delays.

Tourism India expect 100,000 visitors to Delhi during the games plus 6,000 athletes from 71 countries will participate in 17 sports. Tickets for events will range from INR50-INR1000 (AUD$1-$50). Opening Ceremony tickets will cost from INR1000-INR50,000 (AUD$50-$1200).

The Games Travel Office covers accommodation, transport and pre/post games touring in and around Delhi. Touring with set or FIT itineraries which can include the length and breadth of India.

The Queen's Baton Relay leaves Sydney today for Melbourne.

CWG opening ceremony to be best in sports history

Commonwealth Games organisers can't be faulted for confidence, promising the best opening ceremony the world has ever seen.

(Rehman to perform at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony)

Even London 2012 Olympic organisers admitted it would be virtually impossible to surpass the grandeur and spectacle of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening. But not T.S. Darbari, joint director general of the Organising Committee to the Commonwealth Games 2010, who is visiting Australia with the Queen's baton relay ahead of the October 3-14 Games.

"The opening ceremony, the way it has been planned, it'll be the best ever," said Darbari.

"Better than Melbourne, better than any Commonwealth Games, better than Beijing - it's a guarantee.", is the claim that Commonwealth Games organizing committee is making.

(Rehman to perform at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony)

Games organisers are facing a tight struggle to get their venues completed with the main stadium, swimming complex and cycling venue suffering construction delays and the monsoon season hitting India as early as June.

Darbari said construction has been accelerated in the past two months to finish work by June, allowing for test events to be held.

"It's going to be tight but it is happening" he said.

India's Games budget has blown out from $US1.2 billion to over $US2 billion.

However, India is one of few countries in today's world who can say that money is not an issue. Indian government and business leaders are leveraging the Games to showcase an international trade and investment campaign targeted at many of the 70 participating countries. This will help promote an already booming economy.

Darbari estimates the Games alone will generate about $US5 billion ($A5.4 billion) of activity for India.

"The Games can be used not only for promoting harmony, peace, friendship and cooperation but also for forging very strong economic ties and enhancing and creating economic relationships," he said.

He also said the test events taking place at the 17 sporting venues will allow for any final adjustments before the games commence.

CWG: 69 athletes selected to represent Australia

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association has today accepted the first round of nominations to the Australian athletics team bound for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, as submitted by Athletics Australia.

(Click here to see list of Australian swimmers for Commonwealth Games)

Following three days of hard-fought track and field action at the Go for 2&5 88th Australian Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games selection trials in Perth, 41 athletes earned automatic nomination to the team based on their results.

A further 28 athletes were today announced as discretionary nominations to the team, taking the total number of nominated athletes to 69.

Newly-crowned national pole vault champion and athletics team captain Steve Hooker (pole vault) will lead a squad that features a true mix of youth and experience into battle in Delhi, with Liz Parnov (pole vault) the youngest athlete nominated to today’s team at 15 years of age and track veteran Patrick Johnson (4x100m relay) the oldest at 37.

Hooker, whose all-conquering spate of pole vault victories commenced with the Commonwealth Games title in Melbourne in 2006, will join fellow nominees John Steffensen (400m, 4x400m relay) and Scott Martin (shot put, discus throw) in defence of their Commonwealth crowns this October. The Australian men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams will also defend their titles in Delhi.

Parnov – the daughter of pole vault guru Alex Parnov, coach of Commonwealth, Olympic, world and world indoor champion Hooker – posted a new personal best and Commonwealth Games A-qualifying height of 4.40m this weekend to take out her first senior national pole vault crown and secure her nomination to the team.

Other young guns nominated to don the green and gold include 19-year-olds Ryan Gregson (1500m), Kevin Moore (4x400m relay) and Melissa Breen (100m).

Twenty-eight of the 57 able-bodied athletes nominated to the team will make their Commonwealth Games debut in New Delhi this October.

At the other end of the scale and adding a wealth of experience to the team, Tamsyn Lewis (4x400m relay) has been nominated for her fifth Commonwealth Games squad, while Johnson (4x100m relay), Luke Adams (20km walk) and Petrina Price (high jump) have each been nominated for their third Commonwealth Games campaign.

Australian Commonwealth Games Association Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti said the 2010 Games would prove the launch pad for the international careers of countless Australian stars.

“From established stars like Steve Hooker and Dani Samuels to rising stars like Liz Parnov and Melissa Breen the athletics team, as with the recently-announced swimming section, typifies what the Commonwealth Games is all about,” Moneghetti said.

“Twenty-eight of the 57 members of this team will take part in their first Commonwealth Games and we are sure it will be an experience they never forget.

“Just as in Melbourne four years ago the Australian Commonwealth Games Association is really pleased that athletics has recommended such a large team. As we have seen since Melbourne, a string of international successes have flowed from the opportunities and experiences provided by the Games.”

Six athletes nominated to the team earned automatic entry following their top-eight performances at the IAAF world championships in Berlin in 2009 – Steve Hooker (pole vault), Dani Samuels (discus throw), Mitchell Watt (long jump), Fabrice Lapierre (long jump), Sally McLellan (100m hurdles) and Jared Tallent (20km walk). Marathon runner Lisa Weightman gained automatic nomination via her top-20 finish at the same titles.

A further 34 athletes earned automatic nomination to the team by posting an A-qualifying performance and finishing in either first place at the national championships or second where the gold medallist also had an A-qualifying performance to their name.

A team of up to 90 athletes is expected to be named to the final squad, to be announced following the close of the qualifying period on August 15. With the window for automatic nomination to the team now closed, all future nominations will be made at the selectors’ discretion.

The door remains open for two-time world champion Jana Pittman-Rawlinson to defend her 400m and 4x400m relay titles in New Delhi in October, with places still up for grabs in both of the women’s one-lap events. Three berths on the women’s 4x400m relay team remain available.

Australia collected 16 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals in able-bodied events at the 2006 edition of the Games in Melbourne four years ago.

Men (42)
100m: Aaron Rouge-Serret (22, Vic)
200m: Matt Davies (25, Qld)*
400m: Ben Offereins (24, WA), John Steffensen (27, NSW), Joel Milburn (24, NSW)
800m: Lachlan Renshaw (23, NSW), Ryan Gregson (19, NSW)
1500m: Gregson, Jeff Riseley (23, Vic), Jeremy Roff (26, NSW)
5000m: Ben St Lawrence (28, NSW), Collis Birmingham (25, Vic), David McNeill (23, Vic)
10,000m: Birmingham
400m hurdles: Brendan Cole (28, ACT), Tristan Thomas (23, ACT)
High jump: Liam Zamel-Paez (21, Qld)
Pole vault: Steve Hooker (27, WA)
Long jump: Fabrice Lapierre (26, NSW), Chris Noffke (22, Qld), Mitchell Watt (22, Qld)
Shot put: Scott Martin (27, Vic), Dale Stevenson (22, Vic)
Discus throw: Benn Harradine (27, Vic), Martin, Julian Wruck (18, Qld)
Hammer throw: Tim Driesen (26, Vic), Simon Wardhaugh (24, Qld)
Javelin throw: Jarrod Bannister (25, Vic)
20km walk: Luke Adams (33, NSW), Chris Erickson (28, Vic), Jared Tallent (25, Vic)
T46 100m: Gabriel Cole (18, SA), Heath Francis (28, ACT), Simon Patmore (22, Qld)
T54 1500m: Richard Colman (25, Vic), Kurt Fearnley (29, NSW), Jake Lappin (17, Vic)
F32/34/52 shot put: Damien Bowen (25, ACT), Hamish MacDonald (35, ACT)
4x100m relay: Davies, Jacob Groth (24, NSW), Patrick Johnson (37, Qld), Isaac Ntiamoah (27, NSW), Rouge-Serret
4x400m relay: Milburn, Kevin Moore (19, NSW), Offereins, Steffensen, Sean Wroe (25, Vic)

Women (27)
100m: Melissa Breen (19, ACT)
5000m: Eloise Wellings (27, NSW)
10,000m: Wellings
100m hurdles: Hayley Butler (25, NSW), Sally McLellan (23, Qld)
400m hurdles: Lauren Boden (21, ACT)
Marathon: Lisa Weightman (31, Vic)
High jump: Ellen Pettitt (23, NSW)*, Petrina Price (25, NSW)
Pole vault: Amanda Bisk (24, WA), Alana Boyd (25, WA), Liz Parnov (15, WA)
Shot put: Joanne Mirtschin (29, ACT)
Discus throw: Dani Samuels (21, NSW)
Hammer throw: Karyn di Marco (32, NSW), Bronwyn Eagles (29, NSW), Gabrielle Neighbour (26, Vic)
Javelin throw: Kimberley Mickle (25, WA), Kathryn Mitchell (27, Vic)
20km walk: Claire Tallent (28, SA), Cheryl Webb (33, NSW)
T37 100m: Jodi Elkington (16, Vic)
T54 1500m: Christie Dawes (23, NSW)
F32-34/52/53 shot put: Louise Ellery (33, Vic), Brydee Moore (19, Vic)
4x400m relay: Jody Henry (25, WA), Tamsyn Lewis (31, Vic), Pirrenee Steinert (25, NSW)

Queen's Baton arrives in Australia

The Queen's baton relay has arrived in Australia as part of a tour of all 71 Commonwealth countries leading up to the Commonwealth Games in India in October.

The honour of carrying the baton on its first leg on Australian soil at Parramatta in western Sydney on Monday went to wheelchair athlete Kristy Pond.

She handed the baton over to NRL players Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh.

Commonwealth Games road cycling champion Natalie Bates took the baton to Parramatta wharf where it was put on board a ferry bound for the Sydney Opera House.

It will be passed to former sprinter Matt Shirvington ahead of an official ceremony at the Opera House.

Sporting notables involved in the relay later on Monday include netballers Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley, swimming great Kieran Perkins, and world cycling champions Karlee McCulloch and Ashlee Ankudinoff.

The baton will make its way to Melbourne on Tuesday, then on Wednesday to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, which recently submitted a bid for the 2018 Games.

The baton, which carries the Queen's message to athletes in New Delhi, began its journey from Buckingham Palace last October.

By the time it reaches New Delhi for the October 3 opening ceremony, it will have travelled over 190,000 kilometres in 340 days.

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association is expected to send a team of 425 athletes and 175 officials to India, its largest ever to compete in an overseas campaign.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Gas stations may serve as information kiosks..!!

After doubling up as convenience stores, petrol pumps are set to serve as information kiosks also during the Commonwealth Games in October.

During the largest multi-sport event to date in India, Delhi's 400-odd petrol pumps will, besides selling fuel, provide visitors information on the Commonwealth Games events, their timing and venues, logistics and other tourist information.

Besides being easily accessible, petrol pumps are almost evenly spreadout in the entire national capital and can serve as one-stop information point for athletes from 72 nations, a senior official said.

The idea of using fuel stations for benefit of tourists is a brainchild of Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Jitin Prasada who is likely to make a formal proposal to the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee shortly.

Under the proposal, specially trained persons will man the information kiosks at the petrol pumps during sports extravaganza from October 3 to 14.

The outlets may also sell tickets for the 19th edition of Commonwealth Games, he said.

State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has 199 petrol pumps in Delhi, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) 105 and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) 96 retail outlets.

This is the first time the Commonwealth Games are being held in India and the second time the event has been held in Asia (after 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).

"Delhi government is putting in extra effort to make the historic city look its best for the visitors during the Games. And Prasada is now offering his help to make it sportsperson- friendly," the official said.

The kiosks would also provide information on shopping areas, tourism attractions, airline and train timings and assist in travel ticketing.

Besides selling petrol, diesel and lubricants, fuel dispensers already offer non-fuel convenience stores or superstores and food joints.

List of Australian atheletes qualified for CWG

The trials for Delhi Commonwealth Games are underway in Australia and following atheletes are guaranteed Commonwealth Games berths:

Aaron Rouge-Serret - 100m
Ben Offereins (WA), John Steffensen (WA) - 400m
Lachlan Renshaw - 800m
Ben St Lawrence, Collis Birmingham - 5000m
Brenadan Cole, Tristan Thomas - 400m hurdles
Ben Harradine, Scott Martin - Discus throw
Liam Zamel-Paez - High jump

Melissa Breen - 100m
Liz Parnov (WA), Alana Boyd (WA) - Pole vault
Kim Mickle (WA), Kathryn Mitchell - Javelin throw

Indian boxers to train in Cuba for Commonwealth Games

Aiming to improve their endurance level, sharpen skills and become psychologically tougher ahead of the Commonwealth Games, 13 Indian boxers will leave for Cuba tomorrow for a training-cum-competition trip after a gap of more than three years.

Olympic and World Championship bronze medallist Vijender Singh has, however, decided to skip the April 19 to May 8 trip due to a nose injury he picked up during the Commonwealth Championships here last month.

With the world number one Indian opting out, the contingent for Cuba does not feature any middle weight (75kg) boxer.

Those who would be going to Cuba include Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar (57kg) and Commonwealth Championships gold medallists Suranjoy Singh (51g), Amandeep Singh (48kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg).

"Training in Cuba will help. It is the toughest tour to endure but a very rewarding one."

Lapierre clears 8.78m during CWG trials

Australian Fabrice Lapierre floated and flew to the sixth-greatest performance by a long jumper under any conditions on Sunday - and then predicted even bigger things to come.

Lapierre's massive jump of 8.78m - with the aid of a 3.1m per second tailwind - was the standout performance of the three-day Commonwealth Games selection trials.

Only Americans Mike Powell, Bob Beamon and Carl Lewis, Soviet athlete Robert Emmiyan and Cuban Ivan Pedroso have ever jumped further, and Pedroso's jump was also wind-assisted.

"It's always there," said Lapierre, 26, who won the world indoor title last month.

"People don't understand that one day I'm going to jump something even more exceptional than that.

"It's only a matter of time until I do something crazy and everyone is going to take notice."

In a high-standard competition, Chris Noffke finished second, moving to fourth on the Australian all-time list with a jump of 8.33m with a legal tailwind.

Noffke's big leap in the penultimate round provided Lapierre with the motivation to go for broke.

"I couldn't have cared if the wind was 10 metres per second wind - that jump was incredible," he said.

" ... it just felt natural, nothing special.

"But it felt like I was flying I guess, it felt so easy - like I was floating through the air."

Lapierre's legal PB remains at 8.35m and he has pledged to break the national record of 8.49m by the end of 2010.

Ryan Gregson won the blue-riband 1500m title on Sunday, mowing down Jeff Riseley in the final 20 metres in the first-ever competitive clash between the two rising stars of Australian middle distance running.

Gregson won a tactical race in three minutes 44.99 seconds ahead of Riseley (3:45.15) and Jeremy Roff (3:45.37) with the first two certain to be among the estimated 70 athletes named in the initial Delhi Games team on Monday.

"We had 12 guys trying to think on their feet today and it pretty much went down to what I thought it would be like," said the 19-year-old Gregson.

"Riseley's strength was going a lap out and just trying to hold me out.

"And as I have shown every race this season, my strength has just been simply the home straight - that has been the only time I have been taking the lead.

" ... we are all going to continue getting better together, then one of us is going to make a breakthrough and win an Olympic medal or something like that."

Australia's two reigning world champions, pole vaulter Steve Hooker (5.80m) and discus thrower Dani Samuels (63.61m), were untroubled in winning their respective events.

But despite the $100,000 on offer if he could break Sergey Bubka's 17-year-old world record, Hooker did not even get a crack at 6.15m after missing twice at 5.95m and once at 6.01m.

WA sprinter Jody Henry made a massive double breakthrough on the weekend, adding the 200m title in 23.29 on Sunday to the one-lap national crown she had won the previous night.

The 25-year-old Henry is set to run both events in Delhi, the first time she will have contested individual races at a major international championship.

Veteran Patrick Johnson (20.78) bounced back from the disappointment of finishing out of the medals in the 100m by edging out Aaron Rouge-Serret by four hundredths of a second in the 200m final.

Other winners on Sunday who did enough to book their places on the Delhi Games team included Scott Martin (shot put), Jarrod Bannister (javelin), Petrina Price (high jump), Lauren Boden (400m hurdles) and Hayley Butler (100m hurdles).

Martin has also qualified in the discus, the event he won four years ago in Melbourne.

John Steffensen to defend Commonwealth Games title

Australian John Steffensen will get the chance to defend his 400-metre crown at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in October after finishing second at the national championships on Saturday.

Steffensen, who had back surgery 13 weeks ago, had wanted to skip the Games selection trials in Perth before being advised by Athletics Australia that he risked being left out of the team unless he competed this weekend.

He finished second behind Ben Offereins, who continued his unbeaten season to win in 45.17 seconds.

Steffensen, who complained of back pain after Friday's semi-finals, eased up in the final to claim second spot in 45.72 in his first meet since last August, while Joel Milburn was third in 45.75.

Steffensen, 27, won 400m gold at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Young sprinters Aaron Rouge-Serret and Melissa Breen won their first national 100m titles and secured spots in the Games squad.

Rouge-Serret won the men's sprint in 10.32 seconds, while Breen was a dominant winner of the women's 100m in 11.50.

Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Parnov is almost certain to be the youngest member of the Australian Games team after she won the women's pole vault on a countback from Alana Boyd after both cleared 4.40m.

Lachlan Renshaw (800m), Brendan Cole (400m hurdles) and Kimberley Mickle (women's javelin) were among others to book their spots on the New Delhi Games team with victories on Saturday.

The selection trials end on Sunday with the national team for the Games announced on Monday.

150 traditional masseurs roped in for Games

India may not have enough masseurs and physiotherapists with specialised sports oriented training, but filling the gap at the Commonwealth Games will be ayurvedic masseurs and therapists from Kerala and West Bengal.

Thousands of athletes and players are expected to take part in the October 3-14 event - the 19th edition of these Games during which sports masseurs and therapists will be needed.

In India, however, sports masseurs are very rare to come by and in fact the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has around 10 of them working under it at any given time. So to meet the deficit, organisers have looked outside the state and have chosen those involved in ayurveda - an Indian system of medicine - which experts say could be an added advantage.

"Around 150 ayurvedic masseurs from the Indian system of medicine have been identified to be trained in sports massages. The Delhi government shortlisted the names from Kerala's Directorate of Health Services and we have recently given the names to the Games Organising Committee," JP Singh, the Delhi government's health secretary, said.

In addition, the Delhi government has identified 100 more people from Kerala and West Bengal for physiotherapy requirements also.

However, these ayurvedic masseurs will undergo rigorous training conducted by foreign experts before the sporting event.

"Since a sports massage is a very different concept from the Indian system of medicine-based massage, the selected candidates will undergo training from foreign experts. After the Games they can be inducted for the domestic demand also," Lalit Bhanot, the organising committee's spokesman, said.

The foreign experts will teach the candidates massages like 'Petrisage' (massage based on pressure application for relaxing), 'Efflurage' (for warming up muscles before a sporting event) and many more, he said.

"Typically, this type of specialised training is made available in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia. The training will be an 11-day module. This is likely to held in Kerala and the experts from abroad will be flown down there. After that, the masseurs will be tested through a written exam ahead of the Games," the official added.

Explaining the importance of masseurs in any sports event, Alakananda Banerjee, head of the physiotherapy department at Max Hospital in Saket, told IANS: "They are a very important aspect of the training for sportspersons and are required in all sports like hockey, football and others. Masseurs are required before, during and after any sporting event.

"When sportspersons play, their muscles get tightened which can lower their performance. The sports massage helps in blood circulation, ultimately helping the sportspersons."

According to sports medicine expert PSM. Chandran, the concept of sports massages is still unknown in India.

"Sports massage is an unknown entity in this country. As of now under the Sports Authority of India (SAI), we have just 10 of them and they too have knowledge of the ayurveda system. Even without the Games, there was a demand for them but no supply," Chandran, who is also director of sports medicine at the SAI.

"If you know some massaging technique, it is better since you can be easily trained. Ayurvedic massages are used for certain diseases and have different training. The masseurs already know how the hands are used and have knowledge of the human anatomy," he added.

IGI Delhi Metro link: Preview

In five months from now, Delhiites can bid adieu to unending jams on the way to the airport and haggling with cabbies.

They will reach the airport from Connaught Place (CP) in specially engineered super luxury Metro coaches, which promise a noise-free ride in a plush ambience, in all of 20 minutes.

The first lot of new trains arrived at Mundra port, Gujarat from Spain on Friday and are on their way to the Capital now. The special coaches have specially been designed for the showcase Airport Express Line, which is scheduled to open in September this year.

The new trains are very different from the existing ones running on the Delhi Metro network. These will have seating for all passengers and the seating is transverse — commuters will face the direction of movement of the train — for added comfort.

The interiors of the trains have been designed keeping commuter comfort in mind. The lighting is diffused, the seats upholstered, and each coach will have LCD screens for entertainment, which will double up as flight information boards for convenience of air travellers.

Even as the trains zip past the city at a speed of about 120 kmph (the designed speed is higher at 135 kmph), one will not feel any discomfort inside the coaches.

The trains are engineered to reach near-zero noise levels and all the components — flooring, insulated walls, windows — have in-built noise reduction features. The wheels too have added lubrication for less noise and better riding comfort. The train doors are plug-and-shut type, which shut after sliding out a bit and then move back into original position.

Those headed to the airport from town will have the choice of checking in their baggage at Metro stations which will double up as City Airport Terminals (CATs) for this line.

To secure the baggage, half a coach of every six-coach train will be reserved for baggage.

For commuters taking the Airport Express Link to reach the city, luggage racks have been provided in every coach where people can stack their baggage.

"The trains have been procured from City Airport Terminals, Spain, which is one of the leading manufacturers of high-speed Metros in the world. It has also supplied to Hong Kong Airport metro and London's Heathrow Express. The trains are being brought to Delhi by road and will be tested at the Dwarka depot," said KP Maheshwari, Director, Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAME) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Limited, which will operate the Airport Line.

The line will operate on Automated Train Operation (ATO) technology which enables trains to accelerate, brake, adjust speed and stop at stations automatically, in accordance with a pre-set schedule.

The trains can operate without a driver. Every coach will be equipped with CCTV cameras for added security and will also have an event recorder, a kind of a black box, which records every movement of the train.

This device, which can withstand high levels of temperature and impact, will help investigations in case of an accident.

The 23-km Airport Express Line is the first Delhi Metro line to come up on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. As per the agreement between Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Reliance Infrastructure Limited, the concessionaire of the project, DMRC will create all the civil structures — the viaduct, tunnels and station buildings, and hand it over to the latter.

The airport line will be developed and run by DAME Pvt Ltd for 30 years.

The good news is that the line will be operational before the Commonwealth Games. "The Airport Line will be better than anything that the city has seen till now. We are going to use the best technologies available around the world and are completing work on a warfooting to open the line by September this year," said Lalit Jalan, CEO and Wholetime Director, Reliance Infrastructure.

The construction of the civil structures is reportedly 90% complete and processes like signalling, electrification, track-laying is under way.

The line will provide a fast-link between New Delhi Railway Station and Dwarka via IGI, with a total of six stops on the way.

The fare will be kept at a maximum of Rs 150 to IGI and Rs 180 to Dwarka from New Delhi.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Minor blasts in Bangalore raise CWG security concerns

The authorities may have refrained from calling minor blasts in Bangalore a terror act, but the incident can well be a wake-up call ahead of the Delhi Commonwealth Games as it exposed chinks in the armour of the security agencies.

The low-intensity explosions were set off by devices with timers, pointing to an expertise that can be used to engineer mayhem on a bigger scale. In fact, in crowded settings, even low-intensity blasts can exact a disproportionate toll by triggering panic leading to stampede

That the packets carrying explosives went undetected in an area which is supposed to be thoroughly scanned, considering the known plan of terrorists to target Bangalore and sports venues across the country, has distressed the authorities.

The government is apprehensive of terrorists carrying out spectacular strikes and mass murder ahead of and during Commonwealth Games, in keeping with their plan to render India an "unsafe destination" just like Pakistan.

The failure of Bangalore police to keep its vigil when it had to guard just one venue should naturally deepen worries about a situation such as the Commonwealth Games when events would be going on at different stadia across the Capital.

"How can police ignore such sanitization exercise, given the fact that the IPL matches have always been on terror radar? It seems no one had even been monitoring the CCTVs' panel. Had police been alert, they could have detected the packets carrying explosive the moment it was planted there", said a senior home ministry official.

Officials here feel that since Bangalore has been on terror radar for long, such lapse could well be avoided keeping constant intelligence inputs in mind.

Union home ministry, which has been in touch with the state police over the investigation and forensic analysis of the explosives, preferred not to comment over the incident at this point.

MCD to install 2000 information kiosks before CWG

Planning to take out your family for a dinner or a movie, but worried about parking? All you worries will now take a backseat as the everything from list of restaurants, schools, shopping areas, parking lots in a particular locality will now be available at your doorstep.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has already installed 43 air-conditioned information kiosks in various colonies and are planning to install 2,000 such kiosks in colonies, market areas etc before the Commonwealth Games.

The 43 of them have been installed in areas like Paharganj, Lodhi Colony, R K Puram, Karol Bagh etc while another 100 would be installed in prominent areas in the city by month-end.

The kiosks are being set-up in a bid to provide doorstep facilities to the citizens of Delhi and for enhancing the appearance of Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The kiosks are being set up in selected areas which see high footfalls.

A top MCD official said that they are hoping to earn Rs.101 crore per annum from this project.

At present, services like list of hotels, restaurants, yellow pages, geographical maps and road maps of Delhi, airlines information, local bus and Metro information, ATM counters etc are available from these kiosks.

But slowly the MCD will also include options like public grievances, passport application status and drops boxes for bill payments.

The tender for installing these kiosks has been awarded to Bartronics India Ltd and IBM on build-operate-transfer basis for a period of nine years.

The kiosks will also provide directory of local housing society including details of all available services within the colony will also be provided at a click of a button. Eventually contact numbers of carpenters, plumbers functioning in an area will also be made available.

Nigerian atheletes to camp in China before CWG

Nigerian sports Minister and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Ibrahim Bio disclosed that he plans to camp Nigerian athletes for the Commonwealth Games in China or another Asian country that has similar climatic conditions with India.

The Minister who was speaking in Abuja said that the exercise will enable the selected athletes concentrate on training and acclimatize before the Games billed for October 3- 14 in New Delhi, India.

He added that his ministry will ensure that Nigeria gets good results in the Games even as the fortunes of the country's athletics has somewhat dwindled in recent times. Bio blamed the development on lack of planning and organisation of grassroots development programmes to produce new athletes.

"Once the athletes are selected for the Games, we'll will take them to Asia for camping for a period of time. We want them to acclimatise and concentrate," Bio said. On the other hand, Athletics Federation of Nigeria technical director, Sunday Bada disclosed that the Ijebu-Ode camp, which was closed for the Easter holiday, will re-open after the AFN Golden League this weekend."We want to use the performance of the athletes at the meet in Ibadan as a yardstick for selection," he said.

8 SA swimmers set for Commonwealth Games

Three more swimmers achieved qualifying times for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October on the fifth day of the Telkom South Africa Swimming Senior National Championships yesterday.

Darian Townsend (KZN) and Sebastien Rousseau (WP) fought out a closely contested final of the men’s 200m individual medley with Townsend always in the driving seat to win in 2:00.10 and Rousseau’s 2:01.01 was also good enough to beat the target time of 2:01.40.

Gideon Louw also qualified with a semi-final winning time of 22.34 in the 50m freestyle, to bring the total to eight swimmers altogether.

Both Roland Schoeman, in the 50m free semi-finals, and Wendy Trott, in the 400m freestyle, also achieved qualifying times but they had earlier qualified in the 50m butterfly and 800m freestyle respectively.

It was the busiest night of the week-long championships, with no less than nine senior finals (four male and five female), eight disabled finals and four youth finals making for 21 finals in all.

But it took some time before the crowd began to have something to cheer about, the opening four races, all senior finals, failing to produce any spectacular performances.

The first two CG qualifying times to be achieved were both in the men’s semi-finals of the 50m freestyle with the target set at 22.35.

Louw (NT) scraped under it by 0.01 second in 22.34 in the first heat and then it was the turn of Schoeman to cap it with a splendid swim of 22.16 that put him at the top of the list of qualifiers for Saturday’s final.

Challenging Schoeman and Louw will be Graeme Moore, Werner Bosman, Gregor Widmer, Donaven van der Merwe, Jason Lawson, Greg Kieck and Nico Meyer.

The dependable Trott was in a class of her own in the women’s 400m freestyle final as she cruised to victory in 4:08.57, just 0.19 second off her own national record of 4:08.38 at the Beijing Olympics wearing a fast suit.

But her time was also good enough to earn her a second qualifying time for this year’s Games to go with the 800m free she claimed on Thursday.

Townsend had earlier taken the 100m butterfly final by the scruff of the neck with his aim more to gain a place in the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay at the forthcoming Games than with the intention of eclipsing the Games qualifying time of 52.86.

Pushed all the way by his KZN teammate, Chad le Clos, Townsend hit the pads in 53.40, Le Clos in 53.53 with Gauteng’s Neil Watson also in the mix in 53.53.73.

Cameron van der Burgh (NT) captured his second breaststroke title of the meet, adding the 50m to the 100m he won on Wednesday, but exactly three- tenths of a second slower than the Games QT with a time of 27.93.

Donaven van der Merwe (KZN, 28.67) was second and Giulio Zorzi (NT, 28.78) third.

At least four swimmers in the men’s 100m backstroke final were seeking a qualifying time, Charl van Zyl, Ricky Ellis, Darren Murray and Gerhard Zandberg.

But Van Zyl’s winning time of 55.73 just missed the QT of 55.14 with the other three times even slower.

Karin Prinsloo was slow off the blocks at the start of the 50m free but still managed to outperform her Northern Tigers teammate, Vanessa Mohr, to win in 26.29, Mohr finishing in 26.73 and Jo-Mari van Zyl (CG, 27.11) third.

It was a double for Prinsloo after her success in the 100m free on Wednesday.

There was a blanket finish in the 100m breaststroke final, only 0.31 second separating the first three finishers, Taryn Mackenzie (CG, 1:12.20), Ronwyn Roper (KZN, 1:12.42) and Marguerite van Zyl (CG, 1:12.51) all clustered together at the timing pads.

But the title went to Mackenzie as did the 50m breast on Tuesday, but in too slow a time for a Games qualifier (1:09.01).

Mandy Loots put up another good performance to win the 200m backstroke in 2:14.88 going away from Jessica Ashley-Cooper (2:16.30) and Natasha de Vos (2:17.28).

Chanelle van Wyk swam a slower time in the final of the 50m backstroke than she did in getting a QT on Thursday evening, but took the title in 29.28 from Prinsloo (29.41) and Ashley- Cooper (29.62).

Friday, 16 April 2010

Art fraternity looking upto CW Games

The art fraternity wants to make the best out of the Commonwealth Games that will be held in New Delhi from October 3 to 14. From art exhibitions to rallies, special shows to installations, they have planned it all during the Games.

Recently former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev’s NGO Khushii got 11 artists including Dileep Sharma, Jagannath Panda, George Martin, Paresh Maity, Naina Kanodia, Jayshree Burman and Mithu Sen to paint rickshaws. These paintings will be a part of one of the VIP rallies at the games. Dileep says, “These rickshaws are a part of the charity auction organised by Khushii every year. These will be auctioned in May and will become a part of this prestigious rally.”

The Lalit Kala Akademi, one of the oldest art organisations in Delhi, has also planned an interesting exhibition to coincide with the Games. Ashok Vajpayee, the president of the Akademi, says, “We are planning to show a specially curated art exhibition which will focus on sports. Through this exhibition we are going to trace the relevance of games and sports in the miniature paintings and also in contemporary artworks.”

Even private galleries in Delhi are taking a lot of interest in organising special shows. Renu Modi of Gallery Espac says, “About 5-6 big galleries in the city are in the process of organising exciting and collective art projects.”

Even the government of India has decided to play an active role in promoting Indian art. Kewal Sharma, principal secretary with the Public Works Department (PWD), says, “We will be displaying public art in the form of sculptures and installations at various locations.

Architect Pradeep Sachdev says, “The plan is to show artworks made of things that are environment-friendly — to prove that the city cares for nature.”

CWG OC working to ensure seamless broadcast

The three-day Second World Broadcasters Meet for the Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHB) of the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi began here on Friday.

Prasar Bharati and Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi are hosting the meet.

Representatives of Network 10 and FoxTel (Australia), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, British Broadcasting Corporation, Asian Broadcasting Union and Astro (Malaysia), Singapore Sports Council as well as Sky NZ and TV NZ (New Zealand) are attending the WBM along with Doordarshan and All India Radio.

Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi Chairman Suresh Kalmadi informed the WBM that everything was on track to ensure seamless broadcast of excellent images to millions of homes round the Commonwealth.

Delivering the keynote address, he said Doordarshan had gathered some of the industry’s best TV professionals to ensure that Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi is an exceptional and memorable broadcast.

“SIS, which is a subsidiary of the BBC and needs no introduction to the broadcasters, is Doordarshan’s production partner. Similarly, Global TV Australia is partnering Shaf India in building the International Broadcasting Centre and delivering all the technical services needed there,” he said.

Kalmadi said the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi has hired experts in all areas that interface with the Rights Holding Broadcasters - technology, telecommunications, accreditation, transport, accommodation and logistics.

“All this will ensure that you will enjoy working during the Games and contribute to the overall success of Delhi 2010,” he said.

Doordarshan Director General Mrs Aruna Sharma, who welcomed the delegates from the RHBs, said every effort would be made to facilitate a great broadcast from the Games that will be held in Delhi from October 3 to 14.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Uganda name 4 swimmers for Commonwealth Games

Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) has named a team of four to start preparations ahead of the Commonwealth Games slated for New Delhi, India in October. Swimmer of the year Jamila Lunkuse, Ganzi Mugula, captain Sharif Kakooza and Olivia Infield Nakiyingi were selected after the first national time trials held over the weekend at International School of Uganda in Lubowa.

"Right from Rome (FINA World championship) in January, these four have shown consistency in their times in the pool," said Peter Mugisha, the USF Secretary. Lunkuse (14), the youngest on the team, will take part in the freestyle and 50m breaststroke, where she won a Bronze medal at the Africa Zone 4 championship Kenya.

Mugula, 27, will compete in the men's 50m Butterfly and 200m Individual Medley, while Kakooza (23) is lined up for the men's 100m freestyle and breaststroke. Nakiyingi,22, will represent the country in the women's 50m backstroke. The four swimmers will be considered for the forthcoming international events that include World Youth Games in August and the 10th FINA world finals.

Delhi govt asks DDA to foot bill for Metro-III

A cash-strapped Delhi government has asked the DDA to foot its share of bills for the Metro railway's third phase of extension.

The state finance minister, A. K. Walia said, the government cannot pay the money because its coffers have dried up.

State finance ministry officials have requested the Union urban development ministry, which is an equal partner with the state in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), to fund the Metro's third phase of extension.

Metro officials say planning for the expansion, in which they aim to add another 120 km to the existing rail network, is underway.

The state government is worried that its bad financial shape could jeopardise the plans and have shot off a letter to the urban development ministry, requesting it to fully fund the third phase.

The state is supposed to pay nearly Rs 2,677.50 crore over the next few years for this phase, with Rs 558 crore due this fiscal, according to Walia.

It now wants the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which the urban development ministry controls, to pay its share of the cost.

"We have written to the ministry explaining our financial crunch. We don't have the money required for the job," Walia said. "The DDA is the city's biggest land- owning agency," said Walia. " And each

government usually earns the maximum revenue through land. The DDA should give back to Delhi a share of what it earns out of the city."The DDA has not replied to Walia's letter.

The state is yet to pay nearly Rs 1,417 crore as its share of the expenses towards the construction of nearly 125 km of rail network that was added in Phase Two, a senior finance ministry official said. "All construction going on right now is part of the second phase, which should be complete by September." Expenses on preparing for the Commonwealth Games have punched a hole in the government's pocket, another finance department official said. "That's why we had to levy taxes worth nearly Rs. 800 crore on taxpayers in this year's budget. We are broke, our revenues have dried up," he added.

In the third phase, the DMRC plans a link parallel to the Ring Road from Ghazipur in east Delhi to Dhaula Kuan, and another link from Noida Sector 18 to the National Highway 8, running parallel to the Outer Ring Road.

To be completed by 2015, the network is expected to cost over Rs 30,000 crore.

Commonwealth Games netball draw announced

Delhi Commonwealth Games organizing committee has announced the draw for netball event.

The defending Commonwealth Games netball champions, the Silver Ferns, have been drawn with England in their six team pool for the October Games in New Delhi.

The draw was decided on world rankings with New Zealand ranked second behind Australia. England is currently ranked third in the world.

Pool A:
New Zealand, England, Papua New Guinea, The Cook Islands, South Africa and Barbados.

Pool B:
Australia, Jamaica, Malawi, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and India.

Top 2 teams from each pool will qualify for semi-finals. The final is scheduled for 14-Oct.

CBC to broadcast Commonwealth Games in Canada

CBC Sports will be the broadcast home of the XIX Commonwealth Games, beginning Oct. 3.

CBC, and Bold will bring Canadians comprehensive coverage of the 12-day event, which takes place for the first time in Delhi, India.

It's the second time that the Games are making their way to Asia. They were in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

"We're excited to once again be Canada's broadcaster for the Commonwealth Games," said Scott Moore, executive director, CBC Sports and general manager, CBC media sales and marketing.

"CBC has a long and proud history of providing Canadians with the best in amateur sports from around the world. The Games began a rich tradition of world-class competition in Canada in 1930, and there is no better place for coverage of this tremendous event than on CBC."

CBC has been home to every Commonwealth Games since the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games were held in Vancouver.

Canada has a storied record at these Games, dating back to the original event when the legendary Percy Williams brought home gold in the 100-yard dash.

Since then, several Canadians stars have had an impact: including two-time high jump gold medallist Mark Boswell (track and field), gold and silver medallist Clara Hughes (cycling) and multiple medallist Alexandre Despatie (diving).

CWG Baton reaches Canada

Canadian kick-off for the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) is being held in Toronto today, Wednesday April 14, at Metro Hall Square.

More than 20 athletes, including some of Canada’s top Commonwealth Games prospects as well as legendary veterans of the Games will take part in the relay, organizers tout.

The Games is scheduled to take place in Delhi, India from Oct. 3 to 14, 2010. The relay, which began on Oct. 29 last year at London’s Buckingham Palace, is part of a 190,000 kilometer route connecting 71 nations and territories that make up the Commonwealth of Nations.

Canadian baton bearers include:

James Worrall, Athletics, 1934 Games Silver Medalist (London, England) and flag bearer for Team Canada at the 1936 Olympics (Berlin, Germany)

Ohenewa Akuffo, Wrestling, 2008 World Championships Bronze Medalist and 2010 Commonwealth Games hopeful

Chelsea Gotell, Swimming, 5 -time Medalist, 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China), and 2010 Commonwealth Games hopeful

Dr. Bruce Kidd, Athletics, 1962 Commonwealth Games Champion (Perth, Australia), founding member of Commonwealth Games Canada’s International Development through Sport Program

Alexandra Orlando, Rhythmic Gymnastics, 6-time Gold Medalist, 2006 Commonwealth Games (Melbourne, Australia)

Martha Deacon, Team Canada Chef de Mission, 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Dope tests to begin before Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) would be testing athletes prior to the Delhi Commonwealth Games apart from conducting a record number of 1500 tests during the Games. In what is termed as the ‘Games period', beginning from the date of opening of the Games Village (around September 23) to the closing of the Games (October 14), the CGF will have the jurisdiction to test the athletes.

“During this time the CGF is empowered to conduct doping control tests on all athletes accredited for the Games no matter where they are, both outside and inside India,” said the CGF Medical Commission Chairman, M. Jegathesan, in a communication to The Hindu.

Dr. Jegathesan, winner of the 200 metres gold in the 1962 Asian Games and sprint double winner in the 1966 Asiad, said that if the sportspersons were to be in India at that time, then the CGF would utilise the services of the anti-doping team of the Games for the dope control.

If they were going to be outside India, then the CGF would enlist the help of a variety of individuals and organisations including the National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs), the International Federations and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to “collect samples on our behalf,” Dr. Jegathesan said.

“These tests which we do will be called as ‘pre-competition' tests”, he said.

“Outside of this period the responsibility and authority to conduct out-of-competition testing will be in the hands of national authorities, international federations or WADA and they have ongoing programmes to do so,” said Dr. Jegathesan, who is also a member of the Medical and Anti-Doping Commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Hopefully, the NADOs, wherever in existence, including that in India and the WADA would step up their out-of-competition testing programme to target the athletes months before the start of the Games. For, dope cheats normally ensure that traces of most of the prohibited substances are flushed out of their systems weeks before competition arrives.

The pre-Games testing done before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including those outside the International Olympic Committee's prescribed period, and that prior to the recent Vancouver Winter Olympics had proved highly successful.
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