Saturday, 31 July 2010

Bhaichung to welcome CWG baton in Kolkata

India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia and West Bengal Sports Minister Kanti Ganguly among others will welcome the Queen's Baton for the upcoming Commonwealth Games when it arrives in the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport in Kolkata on August 1. Ganguly will receive the Baton in
presence of Bhutia, Olympian Soma Biswas, Asian Games double gold medalist Jyotirmoyee Sikdar and former football star Tulasi Balaram, Bengal Olympic Association (BOA) secretary, Kamalesh Chatterjee said announcing the QBR schedule in the city.

The Baton will set its journey from the North Gate of the Victoria Memorial at 3 pm, he said.

"About 10,000 school children are being invited to be part of the programme in the 8 km long route. There will also leading personalities from the sports fraternity," he said.

The QBR will then head to neighbouring districts covering about 300kms traversing through Bardwan, Panagarh, Durgapur and Asansol before reaching Dhanbad in Jharkhand on August 4.

The Commonwealth Games will be held in Delhi from October 3-14.

7 bids for packaged food at Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC), which is trying to come to grips of the catering issue, has received favourable bids for serving packed food at its 17 venues for its workforce and volunteers, among others.

The OC has received seven bids for packed food to be served at 17 venues, while it has received four bids for food stalls to be set up at the venues.

The bidders for packaged food include Gravis (which had bid earlier), Fast Trax, Crystal and Bikanerwala. Fast Trax and Vatika are two of the four bidderss for food stalls.

The OC had taken a decision to cancel the tender for hiring caterers for all venues after overshooting it’s budget. The committee had received bids from 11 firms at that time.

The catering department of the OC has been going through several ups and downs. There have been changes at the helm of affairs as well. On June 25, the executive board was informed that talks are going on with the Indian Railway’s subsidiary — IRCTC — to serve at all venues.

The OC had gone into detailed negotiations with the IRCTC to bring down the prices. Sources inform that on the same day, when IRCTC submitted their revised bids, the OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi rejected the idea and instead asked his staff to float a new tender. Instead of a buffet meal, it was decided that packed food will be served.

Senior OC officials have, meanwhile, questioned whether serving packed food would be hygienic. “There is no food storage facility at the stadiums. It does not seem like a good idea to stack up the food packets in a bare room,” said a senior official. Bids for serving food at lounges will be floated next week. A decision on the tenders will be finalised soon.

Friday, 30 July 2010

CWG stage to have ethnic Indian touch

The stage for the Opening and Closing ceremonies for the upcoming Commonwealth Games (CWG) here in October will be elaborate, extremely technologically advanced, and will have an ethnic Indian touch to it, says famous set designer Omung Kumar.

'I am working on the stage for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games. It's going to be beautiful with a lot of Indian arts and crafts on display,' Omung Kumar

'The world will be watching is and everyone is wondering what we are going to do. So as a country, how can we just show something that is not at all India. The stage is going to be beautiful, very ethnic and will completely reflect our Indian culture. A lot of technology is being used yes, but the Indianness will definitely stand out,' he added, without divulging any more details.

The opening and closing ceremonies of CWG will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Omung Kumar, who has designed sets for films like 'Black', 'Saawariya' and 'Love Story 2050', can be trusted enough to bring an Indian flavour to the stage especially after the way he has created a mini-India for a new entertainment destination Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon.

The mini-India is in the form of Culture Gully - an elaborate culture, arts, crafts and food boulevard at the Kingdom of Dreams - a Rs.2 billion project.

From Punjab to Kerala, he has created small attractions from 14 states in India in all its splendour. Each pavilion houses either restaurants or artisans offering authentic food items and selling regional specialities respectively.

A lot of care has been taken to bring out the flavour of each state in the form of the furniture used, the colours, the ambience, the music and the way the food is served.

The Culture Gully will be open to public starting Saturday.

Corruption charges hit 2010 Commonwealth Games

Fresh corruption charges rocked the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2010. The UPA Government at the Centre and Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government are in trouble, as the CVC recommended CBI probe into the alleged irregularities.

The Opposition parties have raised a hue and cry over the issue and also demanded a judicial probe into the CVC report, indicating corruption in constructions in the CWG stadiums. The BJP estimated that the scam would be to the tone of Rs 30,000 crore.

The agencies under the CVC scanner are PWD, MCD, DDA, CPWD and RITES. In another development, a fresh case of money laundering involving a UK firm came into light.

According to a news channel expose, funds worth £2,47,469 were transferred in October, 2009 from the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games to a UK-based company AM Films UK Ltd. Suresh Kalmadi, who heads the committee, hasn't yet reacted to the report.

The money was reportedly transferred during the Queen's Baton Relay function in London. In addition to that money, 25,000 pounds are being transferred into AM Flims account every month. In total, about 4,50,000 pounds have been transferred to UK so far.

The Congress Party reacted to the latest development, saying a probe will be conducted, if necessary and the guilty will be punished. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar to review the status of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) projects.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

CWG OC working out catering for Games

The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, which is still to finalize catering for the Games, has now decided to break the problem down to bite sizes to make it easy. Instead of one tender for all catering needs, from athletes to security staff, three tenders will now be floated.

Till now the Organising Committee has only signed a single catering contract, with Australian firm Delaware North, for the Games Village. The Committee is still working out who will serve food at the competition and non-competition venues to athletes, games technical officials, VIPs, workforce, volunteers and security staff.

After a bit of a reshuffle in staff who are handling the catering, the Committee is trying to sort out the matter now. The catering has been divided into three parts with separate tenders for VIPs, which includes athletes, technical officials and games officials, another for the workforce, volunteers and security staff and the last for food stalls to cater to spectators.

For VIPs, the organising committee is discussing the possibility of hiring the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation. “The way talks are going on at present it is highly unlikely that the OC and IRCTC will be able to iron out a deal. We will have to float a tender,” said a senior Organising Committee official.

The catering budget has already gone haywire and the committee wants Rs 121 crore more. Even the Rs 106-crore Games Village contract was signed after the tender was floated twice. Delaware North’s first bid was rejected on the excuse that the firm had not paid the earnest money.

The Committee had invited an expression of interest for providing catering services at competition and non-competition venues in 11 parts. Five firms had submitted their bids totaling around Rs 77.93 crore. After negotiations the amount came down to Rs 73.22 crore. The Committee, which had initially fixed the total catering budget at Rs 63.33 crore, found this too high. After trimming the menu and number of people the price came down to Rs 68.46 crore. But even this price was way too high, so all tenders were cancelled. No contracts, however, had been signed with any firm.

Commonwealth Games brand ambassadors

Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi today named a group of six ace sportspersons as Brand Ambassadors for the Games to be held here from October 3 to 14.

Olympic and world 10m air rifle champion Abhinav Bindra, world no. 2 badminton player Saina Nehwal, the athlete of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Samaresh Jung, Olympic bronze medallist boxer Vijender Kumar, Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar and four-time world boxing champion MC Mary Kom are the Brand Ambassadors for Delhi 2010.

“These champions have done India proud with their achievements and will serve as remarkable Brand Ambassadors for the Games,” said Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi Chairman Mr, Suresh Kalmadi, MP. “Their passion, personality, and presence as well as their amazing pursuit of excellence truly reflect the vision of the Organising Committee.

“Their focus, mental strength and resilience make them role models, inspiring generations of Indians not just with their achievements but also with their work ethic, discipline and determination,” Mr. Kalmadi said. “It ties up with the ideals of the Organising Committee and I am sure these champions will inspire Indians to back the Commonwealth Games and take to Olympic sport.

“We are poised at the cusp of staging the biggest sporting celebrations ever in India and I am confident that this squad of six Brand Ambassadors will find universal appeal across the nation. I believe that they will lend their charisma to ensure that the Games are a huge draw with the people,” Mr. Kalmadi said.

About the Brand Ambassadors:

The 27-year-old Abhinav Bindra won top honours in the 10m air rifle event at the ISSF World Shooting Championship in Zagreb in 2006 and the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. He has also won two gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Melbourne.

Barely 20, Saina Nehwal has endeared herself to the hearts of millions of Indian sports fans with her consistent performances in the past two years. Beginning with a quarterfinal appearance at the Olympic Games, she has won three Super Series crowns in the past 12 months

The air pistol expert Samaresh Jung, 40, has won seven gold medals, three silver and a bronze in the last two editions of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Melbourne. His haul of five gold, a silver and a bronze in 2006 saw him being named for the David Dixon Award for the best athlete of the Games.

Besides his Olympic Games middleweight boxing bronze medal in Beijing, the 24-year-old Vijender Singh has won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne as well as bronze medals in the Asian Games at Doha in 2006 and the World Amateur Boxing Championship at Milan in 2009.

Sushil Kumar, 27, won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in 2008 and is a two-time bronze medal winner at the Asian Wrestling Championships in 2003 and 2008. He also has three gold medals at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Besides winning the World Championship crowns in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008, Mary Kom, 27, has claimed the Asian Championship prize as many as three times. Having coming back to boxing as mother of twins, she is an inspiration across the country and widely respected as one of the finest women champions in India.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Canada's Commonwealth Games Cycling squad

The Canadian Cycling Association announced Thursday that its 13-member team that will take part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Delhi, India, in October, will be lead by veteran rider Michael Barry.

(Read: Commonwealth Games cycling route)

Barry, who is currently competing at the Tour de France, was ninth in the road race event at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The Toronto native also wore the Maple Leaf at the 2003 Union Cycliste Internationale road world championships, the 2000 Pan-American Games and the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

“The Canadian cycling team for Delhi Commonwealth Games intends to compete for medals,” said Team Canada chef de mission Martha Deacon. “With one gold, one silver and three bronze medals won in Melbourne in 2006, the cyclists will be highly competitive in Delhi and we are proud to support the already accomplished team members as the cycling team looks to surpass previous goals.”

Svein Tuft, a veteran member of the Canadian team, will also be taking part in the road race event. The native of Langley, B.C., was the 2008 Pan-Am champ and a silver medallist in the individual time trial at the 2008 UCI road worlds in Varese, Italy. He recently won his sixth straight Canadian crown in the time trial race at the 2010 Canadian road cycling championships.

Also named to the team were Zach Bell of Watson Lake, Yukon, who competed in the track event at the Beijing Games, and Calgary's Travis Smith, a silver and bronze medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Edmonton's Tara Whitten, who won the women's points race at the 2010 world championships, and Calgary's Monique Sullivan, who won the sprint title at the 2009 Canadian championships, will lead the women's team.

This year's Commonwealth Games features 14 track events (eight for men and six for women), along with two road events.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Canada's Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowling team

Bowls Canada Boulingrin and Commonwealth Games Canada announced the Lawn Bowls athletes and coaches who will join Team Canada for the XIXth Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India from October 3 - 14.

Veteran international competitor, Keith Roney (Regina, SK), is headed for his third straight Commonwealth Games, having competed in Manchester, England (2002) and Melbourne, Australia (2006). Roney is joined by two of the world's outstanding international bowlers, Ryan Bester (Cabramatta, Australia) and Hiren Bhartu (Nanaimo, BC), along with other experienced Canadian champions and international-level athletes. On the women's side, Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong (Winnipeg, MB), a silver medalist at the 2002 Games in Manchester, is part of a squad that combines experience and youth.
"This is a group of athletes that we expect will perform extremely well in Delhi," stated Chef de Mission, Martha Deacon. "I'm really looking forward to watching them compete in the Canadian Championships coming up in August in Edmonton."

Shirley Lenarduzzi, Co-Chair of Bowls Canada Boulingrin's High Performance Committee, added there is great excitement and anticipation among the team members who are preparing for the Delhi Games. "I have a really good feeling about this group," she added, "with such a solid mixture of experienced international athletes and young, rising stars, we're looking forward to some great podium performances in October."

The team will be coached for the first time by an Australian, David Millard (Cardiff, Australia). Prior to being named to the position, David coached in the Australian Premier League. He made his first international coaching appearance -- and his first as coach of Canada's national bowls team -- at the 2009 Atlantic Championships in South Africa in May, 2009.

The team was chosen after two selection camps: one in Arizona in January, with the final cut being made at a selection camp at White Rock, B.C. in May. The athletes include:


Amanda Berg, 23, (Edmonton, AB). Her first major international competition.
Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong, 39, (Winnipeg, MB). Silver medalist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2009 Canadian Pairs Champion.
Rachel Larson, 53, (Saskatoon, SK). 2009 Canadian Pairs silver medalist.
Josephine Lee, 61, (Burnaby, BC). 2009 National Singles Champion and won silver at the Hong Kong Classic in December 2009.
Harriette Pituley, 52, (Regina, SK). 1997 Canadian gold medalist in Pairs and was a member of the National Team at the 2007 Asia Pacific Championships and the 2009 Atlantic Championships.


Ryan Bester, 26, (Cabramatta, Australia. Hometown: Hanover, ON). 2004 World Champion in Pairs with fellow National Team member, Keith Roney. Currently ranked #16 in the world in Singles.
Hiren Bhartu, 52, (Nanaimo, BC). 2008 Canadian Singles Champion and currently ranked 6th in the world in Singles.
Michel Larue, 44, (Longueuil, QC). Gold medalist in Pairs and bronze medalist in Fours at the 2003 Asia Pacific Championships.
Steve McKerihen, 53, (Toronto, ON). National Team member since 2004, silver medalist in Triples and bronze medalist in Fours at 2007 Asia Pacific Championships.
Keith Roney, 62, (Regina, SK). Member of Bowls Canada's National Team for 23 years. Former Pairs World Champion (2004) with Ryan Bester.
Fred Wallbank, 58, (Toronto, ON). Four-time gold medalist in Fours at the Canadian Championships.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Indian boxing probables for Commonwealth Games

Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) today announced the list of probables for Indian boxing team for Commonwealth Games to be held in October this year.

The probables as announced by the IBF by category are as follows:

49 Kgs: Sunil , Amandeep , Nanao Singh , Vipin Kumar , M.Murugan, Sanjay Kolte

52 kgs: Suranjoy Singh, Sanjay Singh, Santosh Harijan, Madanlal, Balbir

56 kgs: Chottelal Yadav, M.B.Lakra, Jitender Kumar, Akhil Kumar,Kuldeep, S. Santosh Singh (56kgs)

60 kgs: Diwakar Prasad, Vikas Malik, Jai Bhagwan, Vikas,  A.L. Lakra

64 kgs: Manoj Kumar, Jitender Moha, Balwinder, V.Santosh, Lakhbir Singh

69 kgs: Dilbag Singh, Dilbag Singh Jr., Jagvinder Singh, J.S Patil, Sandeep Kumar.

75 kgs: Vijender Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Kulwant, Jagat,

81 kgs: Dinesh Kumar, Jasveer Singh, Rahul, Vikas Singh,

91 kgs:Manpreet Singh, Parveen Kumar, Narender, Jagmeet Singh, P.Samota, G.Shanmukham, Hardeep Singh, Ram Singh,

The selected pugilists are expected to attend the senior national men's boxing coaching camp at NIS Patiala. The selection trials, to be held in August 17th-19th will aid in the final team selection. Other factors affecting the selection will include their previous performance at the international level, especially that at the recently concluded Sahara 57th Senior National Men's Boxing Championships at Delhi in July.

Earlier this month, the IBF had announced its decision to make participation in the CWG compulsory for all players, a move designed to give everybody a level playing field.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Pakistan's Commonwealth Games boxing squad

The Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) named six boxers in as many weight categories to compete in New Delhi in October.

Haroon Shahid, younger brother of British boxing champion Aamir Khan, is part of the six-member Pakistani squad, announced for this year's Commonwealth Games.

The squad includes Mohammad Waseem (49kg), Haroon Shahid (52kg), Qadir Khan (56kg), Adnan Hussain (60kg), Nisar Khan (75kg) and Mir Waiz Khan (91+kg).

Two boxers, Naimat Ullah (56kg) and Arshad Hussain (60kg) are in the reserve list.

Cuba's Francisco Hernandez Roldan will be the chief coach and Ali Bukhsh will be his deputy for the Games.

The PBF is the first sports federation to announce its squad for the Games as preparations for meet have been hit by lack of funds and selection problems.

The second phase of training started on Sunday in different cities after the Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Olympic Association reached an agreement under which it has been decided not to send the football team for the Games.

"We have good hopes from our young and talented boxers that they will perform well for uplifting of game's image in the country," Muhammad Akram Khan, PBF Secretary General said.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Euphoria release promo for Commonwealth Games, to perform live

India's premier rock band, Euphoria has unveiled a 30-second promo of their much awaited debut international release, Dilli - Gateway to Your Heart on their Facebook page. This song is the theme track of the Commonwealth Games 2010, to be held in Delhi in October 2010.

The Euphoria group led by singer Palash Sen will also perform live at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Specially designed to suit the taste of the global audiences, this 30-second promo was premiered at all the FIFA World Cup 2010 venues in South Africa along with international TV networks to a tremendous response. The full song will see a global release in the month of September 2010.

Euphoria will also launch another theme song for the Commonwealth Games in Hindi titled Dilli Meri Jaan for the Indian audiences along with a music video on the August 16, 2010. The band is also looking forward to the release of their eagerly awaited fifth studio album in September 2010.

Speaking on the songs, the band's lead vocalist Dr. Palash Sen said, "Compassion is the only way to go and love is what we've got from fans all across the world. Music is what we know and it is the gateway to your heart! We love our country and our city. We just love Delhi and are looking forward to Commonwealth Games in October. These songs are our tribute to our identity and our pride."

Australian Gymnastics squad for Commonwealth Games

Lauren Mitchell, Australia's leading gymnast has been named to spearhead a 13-strong national team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Mitchell, 19, hasn't competed since late last year when she became the first Australian woman to medal in an individual apparatus at the world championships - winning silver on both the beam and floor. A series of injuries, including ankle and adductor problems, have kept the West Australian out of action and she missed this month's national titles in Perth.

But women's coach Peggy Liddick is confident Mitchell will be in top shape for the Delhi Games from October 3-14.

She will be joined in the women's team by fellow Beijing Olympians Georgia Bonora and Ashleigh Brennan as well as youngsters Emily Little, 16, and Maryanne Monckton, 15.

World championship medallists Prashanth Sellathurai and Phil Rizzo headline the men's team while Olympian Naazmi Johnston is the most experienced member of the three-woman rhythmic team.

Gymnastics squad: Women - Georgia Bonora, Ashleigh Brennan, Emily Little, Lauren Mitchell, Maryanne Monckton.

Gymnastics squad: Men - Jefferis, Sam Offord, Thomas Pichler, Philippe Rizzo, Prashanth Sellathurai.

Rhythmic - Naazmi Johnston, Janine Murray, Danielle Prince

Delhi airport amongst top 100 infrastructure projects: KPMG

Three ongoing Indian infrastructure projects have made it to KPMG's Infrastructure 100 Report. The report includes 100 most exciting infrastructure projects from around the world, as selected by independent judging panels due to their scale, complexity, innovation and impact on society. The report has been brought by KPMG's Global Infrastructure practice, in conjunction with Infrastructure Journal.

Projects in the developing world - said a statement - were favoured by the judging panel largely due to their socioeconomic impact.

Amongst Indian projects that made it to the list include Delhi Airport which is world's 6th largest airport, Reliance's KG-6 Gas basin development and one Ultra Mega Power Project.

The role of an international sporting event as the catalyst for big-ticket investments in airports was undeniably the driver for the New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport expansion which was to be made ready in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. This airport was taken over by the GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) team. It is being upgraded and modernised while still functioning, then operated under a 30-year concession. Not only this mega project delivered a world-class facility, it has been completed in record time. Focus of developing nations such as India on reducing Carbon footprint is also commendable. The Delhi Indira Gandhi International airport can now boast of about 1 million planted trees.

For similar reasons India's KG-D6 development became a clear candidate worthy of particular note for its impact on the fast developing South Asian economy. The project, and accompanying East-West Pipeline, will provide India with 50 per cent of its current gas consumption and will transform the consumption pattern of various carbon fuels.

The 4,000MW Mundra plant also made it to top 100 list.

Queen's Baton arrives in Shillong

The Queen's Baton reached Meghalaya this evening as part of its country wide relay in the run up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, in October this year. The baton was handed over to Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M Lanong at Byrnihat in Ri Bhoi District at around 10:30 am after travelling from Kaziranga in Assam as part of its onward journey to Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.

The baton after arriving at Byrnihat, travelled through the Shillong Guwahati road in a rally participated by Lanong, who also holds the Sports portfolio, along with officials of the sports department and sports personalities.

It passed through Nongpoh, Umiam and localities like Mawlai, Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex, Ward's Lake in the city before arriving at U Soso Tham Auditorium.

People thronged the premises of U Soso Tham Auditorium to have a glimpse of the decorated wand before it was taken inside the hall.

International marathoner Biningstar Lyngkhoi of Meghalaya handed over the baton to Meghalaya Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma at cultural programme to mark this historic event.

Speaking on the occasion, Sangma said Meghalaya was lacking behind in sports and the government would make every effort to provide avenues for the youth to utilise their immense potential.

The baton left Buckingham Palace on October 29, 2009 for its India leg journey. It would finally reach New Delhi in before the commencement of the Commonwealth Games on October 3.

Amity University to provide dope control officials for CWG

Amity University is playing a crucial role in ensuring successful Commonwealth Games. After taking responsibility to train over 30,000 volunteers, the University is set to provide over 200 National Doping Control Officials from amongst its students.

Doping Control Programme (DCP) is a major initiative of Common Wealth Games organizing committee. The dope control takes place in compliance with the World Anti- Doping Code, CGF- Anti Doping Standard and the accompanying international standards. For successful execution of DCP, Doping Control Department requires over 447 control officials for the Games and Amity University is the only University in Noida /NCR which has been selected by OC.

Today, the initial phase of screening process, which is a three day general training started with the second batch comprising of 92 students from Amity Institute of Physiotherapy (AIP), Amity Institute of Forensic Sciences, Amity Institute of Bio Technology and Amity School of Pharmacy at Amity Campus, Sector-44, Noida.

The first batch comprising of over 72 students from Amity Institute of Physiotherapy (AIP) and Amity Institute of Forensic Sciences, who were picked up for the Dope Control Training Programme in May, 2010, are in the last phase of the training.

Welcoming the guests and sharing some vital information with the students, Dr. Nitesh Bansal- Director, Amity Institute of Physiotherapy said, "the screening process for Dope Control Officials will comprise of three stages namely "General Training on Doping" (amalgamation of theoretical and practical components), "Role Specific Training" (one day training) and "Venue Specific Training" ( one day training) which will be conducted simultaneously with Role Specific Training in August, 2010 and subsequently, based on their performance in written examination, the students will be certified and registered as "National Doping Control Officials".

While presenting his views during a session on "Doping Control Induction", Dr. Munish Chander highlighted various anti- doping organizations functioning across the world and the objectives of the training programme. Talking about the reason behind the growing use of prohibitive substances during the games, Dr. Chander said that the athletes face a lot of pressure from society, their coaches and their country during the International Games, where even a millisecond counts in attaining name, fame and money. Therefore, the athletes resort to prohibitive substances to enhance their performance. Dope Control is very important from legal and ethical point of view. WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) has made it mandatory for all the participating nations to sign WADA code, which is the core document that provides the framework for harmonized anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sports organizations and among public authorities. Highlighting the training objectives and the benefits accruing from the same, Dr. Chander said, "the training programme aims to develop skils and knowledge for the Doping Control Program for CWG and evaluate and identify able candidates for training as Doping Control Officials. The certification will be valid for two years, after which a person has to go for one day refresher training to continue the certification. On the completion of the training module, the successful candidates will become Certified Doping Control Officials, which is an International level accreditation and will become a member of National Anti- Doping Agency".

During the session "Overview of Doping Control Delhi 2010", Dr. Prajna Panda- Asst. Project Officer, Dope Control Department shared her views on Compliance with Anti Doping Policies/Standards, Anti Doping Rule violations, Roles of CGF ,IF /CGAs and CWG OC, Testing Program for Delhi 2010, Secure Chain Of custody, Whereabouts Information of Athlete and Therapeutic use Exemption.

Also present during the training programme were Ms.Jyoti Mittal - Project Officer, Dope Control Division, OC, CWG-2010, Dr. Kanupriya Kashyap - Project Officer, Dope Control Division, OC, CWG-2010 and Dr. Ritisha James-Project Officer, Dope Control Division, OC, CWG-2010.

Doping Control Department will conduct over 1500 Urine Test, 150 Blood Test and 150 EPO Test on the athletes during CWG. Maximum level of tests will be done in the highly susceptible games which include Weightlifting, Swimming, Cycling and Athletics. The Doping Tests can be conducted "Out of Competition", when the selected athlete is in his own country before the starting of the games, "Pre- competition", when the athlete is in games village or training venue and " In Competition", when the athlete is competing during the games.

The Doping tests on athletes will start from September 23.All the samples collected will be sent to world's 35th WADA (World Anti- Doping Agency) accredited "National Dope Testing Laboratory" which is housed near CGO Complex.

Over 200 doctors from medical colleges across Delhi and Indian arm forces with over 16-17 years of experience are already being trained as "National Doping Control Officials".

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Ghana's boxing team for Commonwealth Games

The Ghana Amateur Boxing Federation (GABF) has selected 22 boxers to form the nucleus of the Amateur Boxing Team 'The Black Bombers'.

The boxers are to start preparations ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2010 and other major international assignments at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra.

The selection was done by the GABF Technical Committee after three days of round-robin competition dubbed "National Amateur Boxing Justify -Your - Inclusion" under the sponsorship Geodril Mining Company.

The boxers are Duke Micah (49Kg), Musah Ramah Lawson, Emmanuel Quartey, Manyo Plange (52Kg), Octopus Djanie, Jessie Lartey, Isaac Sackey, (56Kg), Benjamin Lamptey, Joseph Martey, Michael Addo, Rapheal A. Mensah (60Kg), Frederick Lawson (64Kg), Azumah Mohammed (69Kg), Habib Ahmed

(75Kg), Ahmed Saraku (81Kg), Awusone Yekeni, Maxwell Amponsah (91Kg), Sulamanu Tetteh (49Kg), Jibril Mohammed, Latif Sadick (75Kg) and Emmanuel Adjei (81kg).

Kwame Amponfi Jr, the General Secretary of the GABF, said 10 out the 22 boxers would be selected from the 10 weight categories for a proposed training tour ahead of the games in October.

He said the team had begun non-residential training at the D.G Hathiramani Sports Hall of the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, in Osu, Accra.

New Zealand's Badminton squad for Commonwealth Games

An eight-strong badminton team was today named to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.

The badminton team consists of Joe Wu, James Eunson, Henry Tam, Oliver Leyden-Davis, Donna Haliday, Anna Rankin, Danielle Barry, Michelle Chan.
New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general and Commonwealth Games team selector Barry Maister said the youthful team would only benefit from the experience.

(Read: New Zealand's Commonwealth Games Swimming squad)

"They're a young group of players and will face some tough competition in Delhi," he said. "Many still have five to seven years ahead of them before they hit their peak and Delhi will provide invaluable international experience"

One of the youngest in the team, 20-year-old Oliver Leydon-Davis, mixes twice daily trainings with full-time study for a Bachelor of Business Management at Waikato University and a part-time job as a warehouse assistant.

Leyden-Davis said his strongest discipline was the men's doubles which he competes in alongside 22-year-old Henry Tam, and hopes that New Delhi will be an important stepping stone in his career.

"I've definitely got my eyes on the Olympics and going to Delhi is a step along the way."

Tam also pairs with Donna Haliday, 29, in the mixed doubles to form the team's top ranked partnership at 25th in the world.

Haliday, who works full-time with Badminton Auckland, said her challenge will be ensuring a favourable draw in New Delhi.

"We've got a busy schedule ahead training and competing in Asia and Tahiti before the games. Our objective is to stay within a fifth to eighth seeding to get a good draw.

"We're currently sixth and our challenge is to stay there. We've got a tough competition ahead of us."

The New Zealand badminton players will compete in both team and individual events. Final combinations are yet to be confirmed.

(Read: New Zealand's Commonwealth Games Swimming squad)

New Zealand's total Commonwealth Games squad is expected to number 195 athletes and 100 support staff. The final selections will be made in early August.

Commonwealth Games volunteer training enter final phase

A staggering 30,000 volunteers will provide critical support to the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in the Capital from October 3. After an exhaustive training programme, the volunteers are set to enter the final phase of grooming. Surprisingly, not just students but experienced professionals have enlisted themselves and are brimming with confidence. The mega event will be held across 10 stadia and across National Capital Region of Delhi.

For 45-year-old Sudhir Gupta, volunteering is a small way of contributing to the country’s efforts of projecting itself as a sporting giant.

“I have a steady job and an established family. It was a conscious decision to not be a mute spectator but take part in this momentous event,” he said.

Gupta was part of close to 600 volunteers who congregated at the Amity University on Tuesday. Under the training meet, former India captain Kapil Dev and football commentator Novi Kapadia, explained on what to expect during the Games.

“Every volunteer should ensure that our culture is exhibited in the truest of spirit. The success or failure of the Games depends on its volunteers who should work selflessly during the entire duration of the Games,” said Kapil.

Kapadia stressed on professionalism. “Be clear, be friendly but most of all, be professional. Work assigned should be done immediately and with precision,” he said while giving examples of the good work done by volunteers during the Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

The training batches are being progressed smoothly and roles are being currently identified for the volunteers.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

All stadia to be handed over to Commonwealth Games OC by 1-Aug

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Monday that the nine venues it was preparing for the Commonwealth Games were completely ready and it would hand them over to the Organising Committee by August 1. This is earlier than committed date of 15-Aug. Talkatora stadium has already been handed over to the organizing committee a week back.

Dismissing media reports that claimed that the SP Mukherjee Swimming Stadium, one of the venues it was developing, was far from complete, a senior SAI official said all work at the stadia was as good as over. Only the setup required to host the event is not prepared as there is no sports meet planned in immediate future.

"As far as sports requirements are concerned, everything is complete," HS Kingra, special officer of Commonwealth Games, told TOI on Monday. "There are no problems in SAI stadia."

Referring to media reports that there is one diving board less than planned and can hamper the event, he said: "As per requirements in diving, two diving boards are prescribed. At all international swimming stadia, only 2 are required. There were also reports that the warm-up pool hinges are loose. But I ask how can they get loose when they are yet to be used? They are loose because they have been not been tightened which we will do when we have to host an event. We do not want anyone to use the facilities and get hurt in absence of safety teams.

Meanwhile, a SAI official said that the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, one of the venues which was yet to be inaugurated, was ready and would be handed over the Commonwealth Games organising committee by August 1.

"The building is ready, field of play is also ready. Some work on the lawn outside is being done which will be completed soon," he said.

Monday, 19 July 2010

SMS traffic alert service by Delhi Police

After successfully launching on Twitter and Facebook, Delhi Police has taken another step to get close to the public. The Delhi traffic police has launched SMS alert service on traffic jams and diversion updates. The service launched three days ago, has already logged 21,240 subscribers with a majority describing it as a “world class service”.

The traffic police launched the free SMS service July 16 to help people plan their travel in the city.

“We have received requests for traffic alerts from about 21,240 people and the number is increasing,” said a traffic police officer, who manages the traffic helpline.

For subscribing to the service, one has to SMS “Join DTP” to 09219592195.

The users can also unsubscribe to the facility, for which one has to send a text message “Leave DTP” to 09219592195.

Those who have subscribed to the traffic alert service are praising the initiative.

“I have subscribed to this facility and have got three alerts since Monday morning. This is world class. Well done,” said Amit Agarwal, who has also registered on the traffic police’s Facebook profile.

“It is a good move. Good use of technology for the community,” said B.N. Nagpal, another subscriber.

The traffic police had joined Twitter and Facebook last month to network better with the public and seek help in improving traffic in the city in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games.

It has over 14,000 Facebook fans, who have facility to upload photographs of traffic offenders with the date, time and place of offence. This helps curb the menace and is already making a difference on Delhi's roads.

India slams CGF over withdrawls by stars

India sports minister M. S. Gill has criticised the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for failing to secure participation of a number of star athletes at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The comments were made after British cyclist and Olympic champion Chris Hoy announced it was pulling out of the Games so as to focus on Europian championships. This was followed by a similar decision from Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt. Bolt has explained that the event is too late in the season for him to be able to attend the same. He would prefer to start training for next year.

“If these stars failed to turn up, then a lot of efforts will go waste. I again request CGF president Mike Fennell to esnure better particiation of athletes and not officials. I want all ‘A’ list of players.” said Gill.

However, organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi highlighted that most of the participating countries will be sending their biggest delegations ever: “If one or two do not come, it does not matter. The Games will go on, the best of the world are coming and new champions will be created.”

Gill said athletes prefer to take part in regional competitions over the Commonwealth Games because these events qualify for the Olympics and he plans to raise this issue at a meeting of sports ministers from all the Commonwealth nations on October 4.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Exciting times for adventure tourism in India

These are surely exciting times for tourists seeking adventure while in India to attend Commonwealth Games. Last week, Rajasthan tourism announced packages including visit to ghost town of Bhangarh near Jaipur.

Now Madhya Pradesh tourism has come up with less spooky but equally hair raising experience for tourists. If chatting up with former bandits or traversing terrain infested with alligators is your idea of adventure tourism, then the Chambal ravines in central India may be the place to go, especially if you are a Commonwealth Games visitor. The program, Chambal Challenge, will be held from Oct 11 to 17, partly overlapping with the Games in Delhi Oct 3-14.

Madhya Pradesh is starting a special programme to attract tourists during the Games to the Chambal ravines in Bhind district in collaboration with Uttar Pradesh and a private player, Chambal Safari. The area, was home to some of India's most feared outlaws at one time.

Madhya Pradesh tourism officials said visitors would be taken in motor boats to Ater Fort in Bhind district, and they would get to see a wide range of flora and fauna in the Chambal sanctuary.

"If tourists want they can spend a night in the wild in tents," an official said in Agra.

The visitors will not only get to interact with former bandits but also be treated to local folklore, music and songs, the typical Alha and Languria style of singing. State tourism plans a massive publicity drive to lure tourists to Bhind across Chambal.

Ram Pratap Singh, the man who started it all some years ago through his popular Chambal Safari expeditions, says the Ater Fort, around 800 years old, was the first fort to be taken up by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Bhopal circle, for restoration.

"They have done a splendid job in 10 years and I think in another 10 years you'll have a wonderful tourist spot in the area, which has always suffered from a negative profile because of the notorious bandits of the Chambal valley," Singh.

From Agra via the Uri Mod and across the river Chambal, the distance is around 150 km.

"Tourists can have the experience of their life, it's a breathtaking and adventurous terrain. With alligators, the birds, the dreaded ravines, unlike any other place, it would be a perfect treat for the visitors," Singh said.

The Bhind district administration is spending around Rs.50 lakh to build suitable infrastructure to transport tourists to the Chambal valley.

"We have contacted leading tour operators and agencies, and are trying to mobilise support for our innovative Chambal Challenge and we hope this will open a new avenue of progress in this ravine-curtained territory," an official told.

Thirty years ago if one had taken a bus ride to Bhind, it would not have been surprising if one's co-passenger turned out to be a dreaded bandit of the Chambal valley romanticised by Hindi films.

Not so now. After the mass surrender of bandits before Sarvodaya leader Jayaprakash Narayan in 1974, the situation has drastically changed. The Bhind district with the Malanpur industrial area is now a new hub of development.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

England announce squash team for Commonwealth Games

World's number one Squash player Nick Matthew will be seen in action at the Commonwealth Games this year after he was included in the English squad for the October 3-14 mega event.

Matthew and women's world number two Jenny Duncalf will head England's challenge. Sheffield-based Matthew, the captain, will be joined in the men's squad by fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop (world No. 6), Londoners Peter Barker (world No. 8) and Adrian Grant (world No. 13) and (world No. 9) Daryl Selby from Essex.

Tania Bailey will captain the England women's squad. The former world No. 4 from Stamford in Lincolnshire will be joined by Duncalf, from Harrogate, Alison Waters (world No. 4) from London, Laura Massaro (world No. 8) from Preston in Lancashire, and Sarah Kippax (world No. 22) from Cheshire.

Duncalf, from Harrogate, said, "The Commonwealth Games are massive for us. They're our Olympics. I've looked forward to it for four years since playing at the last Commonwealth Games. It's right at the top of my list now and I'm really excited about it."

Matthew, Willstrop, Grant, Duncalf, Waters and Bailey all featured in England's team at the Melbourne Games four years ago.

Englishman Nick, 29, who will be making his second appearance at a Commonwealth Games after just missing out on the medals in Melbourne four years ago, has vowed that he will settle for nothing but the gold this time.

"In Melbourne, I won bronze medal. This time, I'm going there to win gold. The field in Delhi will be incredibly strong. Our preparations have been meticulous, but you can't get ahead of yourself and we've got to make sure we do the simple things right," Matthew said.

Metro stations to provide info regarding CWG

Information about Commonwealth Games will be available at all metro stations soon. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is bringing out a Commonwealth Games Information booklet which will be available at all Metro stations. According to DMRC officials, the booklet will provide all the necessary information to the commuters during the Games.

“The comprehensive booklet will not only carry information about the various corridors and stations, but will also have details about the various tourist attractions of the city along with their metro connectivity. The Games booklet will have detailed information on the city’s hotels, markets, railway stations, other emergency numbers,” said Anuj Dayal, DMRC spokesperson.

The DMRC has also decided to launch a special commuter-friendly service so that foreign tourists who will visit Delhi during the Games do not gather a negative note about the capital city, he added.

“We are going to beef up strength of our Metro Citizens’ Forum from 400 to 1,000 heads before the games. Besides, we have tied up with Bharat Scouts and Guides who are going to provide volunteers to Delhi Metro for the Games. These volunteers will be deputed at Metro stations and trains to cater to the increased traffic volume and also ensure that no one is causing nuisance for the commuters,” said Dayal.

“Law violators and trouble creators will be dealt in strictly. If they do not pay any heed to volunteers’ requests, we will immediately hand them over to the police,” said a senior DMRC officer.

Besides this arrangement, the Central Industrial Security Force has also initiated a special ‘random checks’ drive to ensure security of the Metro passengers. Special squads have been formed to conduct such drives in metros.

Pak squad not to include athletes and swimmers

There won’t be any athletes and swimmers from Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi in October. Though there are reports that Pakistan had submitted a list of participants for the Games before the June 30 deadline, it is learnt that the government has decided not to include athletes and swimmers, as they are not medal prospects.

Pakistani newspaper reports said the athletes and swimmers have also been pulled out of the Asian Games in China in November.

The decision not to send entries in athletics and swimming was taken by the Federal Ministry of Sports, which is the ultimate authority in Pakistan to decided foreign tours for sportspersons. The national federations had picked three athletes and four swimmers for the CWG but the ministry ruled otherwise.

“Participation in international events depends on the National Olympic Committee and the government, which provides the funds. The federation can only suggest names for the event,” said Khalid Mahmood, secretary, Amateur Athletics Association of Pakistan.

Though there are reports that the government is firm on its resolve because of limited funds for this year’s two mega events, Mahmood said he was confident the government would relent. “I am still confident that the Pakistani athletes will participate in the CWG,” he said.

However, the athletes seemed resigned to their faith. “After returning from the South Asian Games early this year, we did not go home but went straight to the camps. But after having spent three-and-a-half months in camps, suddenly we were informed that the authorities don’t want to send athletes to these games and so we had no option but to go home,” the country’s leading discus thrower, Basharat Ali, who won gold in the South Asian Games, was quoted as saying by The News.

Friday, 16 July 2010

New Zealand's CWG squash squad

Shelley Kitchen has been selected to lead the six-member New Zealand squad.

The former world number six gave birth to her first child in February, but has returned to the court, looking to add to the silver and bronze medals she won in Melbourne four years ago.

Kitchen will team up with world number 14 Jaclyn Hawkes in the women's doubles and Campbell Grayson in the mixed event. Both combinations claimed gold at last year's Australian Doubles Championships in Melbourne.

There is also a second women's pairing, Joelle King and Tamsyn Leevey. King will also feature in the mixed doubles event with world number 42 Martin Knight, while Knight and Grayson will be playing partners in the men's doubles.

New Zealand's top two ranked men's players have established a great understanding in doubles squash, winning silver at last year's Australian Doubles Champs in Melbourne and fourth in the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

BCCI rejects CWG OC's suggestion to re-schedule Aus tour

In an apparent snub to the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, BCCI has refused to change the dates of India-Australia cricket series which co-insides with Delhi Games.

BCCI, reportedly turned down the request citing scheduling problems.

With the India-Australia cricket series clashing with the Commonwealth Games in October, CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi had earlier sought sports minister MS Gill's help to convince the BCCI to reschedule the two-Test rubber.

In a letter to the sports minister on July 1, Kalmadi requested Gill to talk to the BCCI officials and convince them to re-adjust the dates of the Test matches, which coincide with the October 3-14 Games.

As per the itinerary released by the BCCI last month, Ricky Ponting's men will play two Tests and three one-day internationals in India between October 2 and 24, which clashes with the Commonwealth Games.

"I seek to write to your good offices to try and convince BCCI to reschedule the two Test matches between India and Australia, now slated to start on October 2 in Mohali and October 10 in Bangalore so that cricket matches do not clash with the Commonwealth Games," Kalmadi wrote in his letter to Gill.

Earlier, the cricket board's asked the working committee to take a decision on whether to accede to the request of the Delhi Commonwealth Games organisers for financial help to the tune of Rs 100 crore.

"A letter has been received for financial help in holding the Commonwealth Games. Its up to the working committee which meets here on July 31 to take a decision," BCCI sources said on Thursday.

The letter to the Board for financial assistance has come from Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi who is also the chairman of the CWG Organising Committee, the sources said.

Route for CWG Cycling gets finalized

The route for one of the popular events at the Commonwealth Games 2010 the mass cycle road race has been finally approved by the government. The new route, which will now start from in front of the Free Church on Sansad Marg, will no longer encircle the swimming complex in Talkatora stadium, as was planned earlier.

Objections about overlapping of the race with a swimming event and the route's intrusion into the dedicated lane for Games athletes and delegates had forced the OC to look for an alternative.

OC spokesperson Lalit Bhanot said: "The new route doesn't have any obstacles and will be relatively straight. We are expecting largescale participation in this event. The new route will now go through Connaught Place, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, Central Vista and back to Sansad Marg. It will basically turn the public roads into a race track for the Delhi Games 2010.''

According to OC officials, work on the new route is scheduled to enter fast lane. Bhanot admitted that the route would see massive overlay work, which includes setting up of temporary structures like the VIP and media lounge, athlete area and doping centre. According to officials, the infrastructure work will take a couple of months to finish. Added Bhanot, "The route will be used for the 20km race, road race as well as the marathon.''

Sources in the OC say the present route was approved as it is near the OC headquarters, making overlay preparations easier. "The OC headquarters will be the nerve centre of the road race,'' added the source.

The earlier route was planned around Talkatora stadium, and included a stretch that was narrow and would not have been able to handle spectators and competitors simultaneously, the traffic department had claimed.

The day-long event includes a 165-km race for men and a 100-km race for women. Participants from 71 countries are scheduled to take part, with each country allowed to field 27 athletes in the event.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

England release probables list for CWG Rugby

England have named an initial 17-man training squad preparing to take part in the Rugby Sevens at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (October 11-12).

The experienced group features 13 players who appeared in the IRB Sevens World Series last season, including world record points scorer Ben Gollings, the sole survivor from Melbourne 2006 when England were silver medallists.

The squad includes five players who have featured on the UR7s backed National Seven Series; Dan Norton (Samurai) John Brake (Samurai), Simon Hunt (Samurai), Alex Cheesman (GB Students), and uncapped Miles Mantella (White Hart Marauders).

Seven of the group were in the teams that clinched memorable wins at Wellington and the London Sevens in 2009.

The intensive 12-week training programme – based at the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey and the Lensbury Club in Teddington – includes England’s first ever appearance at the Middlesex Sevens playing as a Help For Heroes side on August 14.

Head coach Ben Ryan will work with additional players before the final team is nominated in September and England then go to New Delhi where the Sevens event takes place on October 11 and 12. They face Australia, Namibia and Sri Lanka in the pool stages.

“I’m very pleased with this initial training squad and we’ll also look at more players during the build-up before we nominate our team,” said Ryan.

“We’ve got experience, we’ve got youth and we have the expertise of taking part in big competitions. It gives us the backbone you need to bring through some exciting young players."

Fitter & Faster

“This is the longest time we’ve ever had together and with that comes greater understanding and the ability to train to play in different ways against different teams and within individual games.

“It will also have a great impact on our conditioning. Sevens players are specialised athletes and our aim is to be fitter, faster and in better shape than we’ve ever been.

“We’ve made great strides in applying new technology to what we’re doing and we work in partnership with bodies like UK Sport to make sure we are pushing back the boundaries in terms of our physical, technical and tactical preparation.

"Learning from others and creating synergy with other sports is very important to us and we’re looking forward to being an integral part of the England team at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, then in Glasgow in 2014 and as part of the build-up to Rugby Sevens inclusion in the Olympics in 2016.

“The objective for these players now is to get selected and then to deliver for a winning England team at the Commonwealth Games.

"There will big guns in New Delhi like New Zealand, who have won three gold medals since Rugby Sevens was introduced to the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, which means we’re certainly not going to be the favourites.
"But we believe and trust in the players selected and that our preparation will be right going to Delhi so that we’ll be in the best possible shape when we’re on the start line."

Commonwealth Games Training Group:

Greg Barden (Royal Navy), Kevin Barrett (Saracens), John Brake, Dan Caprice, Alex Cheesman (Oxford University)
Chris Cracknell, Isoa Damudamu (British Army), Ben Gollings, Simon Hunt (Birmingham and Solihull), Ollie Lindsay-Hague (Harlequins)*, Miles Mantella (Harlequins), Dan Norton (Bristol Rugby), Tom Powell, James Rodwell, Nick Royle, Mathew Turner, Christian Wade (London Wasps)

Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens, October 11-12

Pool A: New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Guyana
Pool B: South Africa, Wales, Tonga, India
Pool C: Samoa, Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea
Pool D: England, Australia, Namibia, Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

More than 300 boxers for Commonwealth Games

Home advantage notwithstanding, Indian boxers will have their task cut out when they take the ring in this year's Commonwealth Games as a record 304 international pugilists are set to participate in the October 3 to 14 mega event.

The bulk of the participation will come from the African region, which will have 118 boxers in fray, according to the continent wise entry list for the Games.

Among the Africans, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, are set to field full 10-member squads. In all, 18 African boxing teams will be seen in action at the Delhi Games.

Europe and Oceania are a distant second in the entry list with 45 boxers each.

European powerhouses England and Northern Ireland will have full 10-member squads in competition, while Scotland has so far committed to seven.

"It is going to be one of the biggest Commonwealth Games as far as boxing is concerned. The size of draws is going to be huge. The participation is unprecedented for any Games," the Tournament Director for boxing in this year's Commonwealth games, Lenny D'Gama, said.

"The countries are yet to send the name-wise list for the Games but it won't be too long before they send that," he added.

From Oceania, strong contender Australia will field boxers in all 10 weight categories, while New Zealand will participate in eight divisions.

Given the huge number of entries, light weight (60kg) and welter weight (69kg) categories are set to have the toughest draws with 40 each.

The super heavy weight (+91kg) category is expected to have the smallest draw as only 17 entries have been received so far.

Indian boxers have a reasonably good record in the Games. Mohammad Ali Qamar (2002, Manchester) and Akhil Kumar (2006, Melbourne) won gold medals for India in previous two editions of the event.

In the Melbourne edition, Indian boxers fetched six medals. Apart from Akhil's gold (54kg), Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh, a welter weight boxer at that time, clinched a silver.

The boxing competition of the Delhi Games would be held at the newly-constructed Talkatora Stadium. The dome-shaped arena played host to the Commonwealth Boxing Championships in March earlier this year.

Hop on and off buses beginning September

Starting September 15, Delhi will join an elite list of international cities which have a 'hop-on, hop-off' bus service for tourists.

With three designated routes that include not just monuments but also museums, parks, shopping areas and foreign exchange bureaus, the buses will ply at intervals of 10 minutes to 15 minutes like in other cities including London, Paris, Rome, New York, Sydney, Singapore, Barcelona and others. Though the service has been started with an eye on the Commonwealth Games, it will continue after the sporting extravaganza.

To start with, 15 buses will run on the designated routes to cover monuments such as Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, Qutab Minar, Purana Qila, Begumpuri Masjid, Hauz Khas monuments and Tughlaqabad Fort, and other places of interest in Mehrauli area and Lutyens' Delhi. The routes will also cover shopping areas like Connaught Place, Santushti Complex, Khan Market, malls, Dilli Haat, museums, Commonwealth Games venues, parks, foreign exchange bureaus and even popular eating joints.

"The service will start from September 15 with 10-15 buses. Based on the response, more buses and routes will be added after the Commonwealth Games," said Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta.

The buses will be luxury coaches with large window panes that will enable visitors a clear view of the city from every seat. The government is going for air-conditioned, low-floor buses. "We needed CNG buses and finding an open/glass top double-decker variant in CNG was not possible. But we will look at introducing such buses after the Games," said Rina Ray, managing director, Delhi Tourism. To make them look attractive, the buses will be painted in bright colours and the exteriors will reflect the character of the tours on offer. Every bus will also have a dedicated guide on board, along with specialised audio guides and literature, to keep the visitors updated on the sites as they pass by. Every trip will be of 2.5 hour to 3 hour duration.

The project started off as a joint effort between Delhi Tourism and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), but the latter pulled out due to excess workload before the Games. Now, the buses will be run by a private operator. The routes have been decided in consultation with INTACH. "The service is not just aimed at foreign tourists. We are also targeting national tourists and Delhiites who would like to explore the city. The fare, though yet to be finalised, will be nominal," Ray added.

Buses run on predefined routes at regular intervals. Tourists can choose a route and board any bus. They will have the option of getting off at a place of their interest on the way and have the choice of taking any of the later buses on the same route. The ticket has a day-long validity. "The entire plan is to empower tourists who come to the city during the Commonwealth Games. As of now, three routes have been finalised but more will added after the Games. The service will follow the model used abroad, where buses visit places of interest and not just monuments," said AGK Menon, Convenor, INTACH.

Rajasthan tourism packages for CWG tourists include ghost town

This one is sure to be a big hit amongst visitors. Rajasthan government has planned to cash in on a "haunted" place of the state during 2010 Commonwealth Games. The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) for the first time has included the historical ruins of the 16th century town, Bhangarh, in one of its tour packages from New Delhi, especially designed for the duration of the games. The town is a couple of hours from Jaipur by road and was once part on the flourishing kingdom resting under the foothills of the Aravali ranges in Alwar district of the desert state.

"This is first time we chose to include this worth-visiting place in our tour packages. It is a ghost city as per local mythologies and we picked it up to reasonably boost tourism in this area," Manjit Singh, Chairman and MD, RTDC, told.

"We have designed several tour packages during the CWG as the event is sure to boost tourism in the state. We are expecting a good response for all the packages which have been designed keeping schedule of the event in mind," he says.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has put up signboards warning visitors to keep off the isolated place from sunset to sunrise. People visit the place during day-hours to get the glimpse of the ruined town, and RTDC wants to take its popularity to a new height.

"Bhangarh is likely to remain in our tour packages after CWG also, but it all depends on response and feedback from tourists. However, we hope that it will attract tourists and the response would be positive," says Singh.

People avoid entering the area after sunset due to several spooky stories associated with Bhangarh. Rajasthan tourism authority is not guaranteeing any citings and paranormal experiences but this one is sure to be a hit as the town wears a run down look.

"Till now, tourists used to visit the place led by folklore but with CWG the place may get a fresh lease of life with the state government introducing tour package covering this site too," says the officer.

According to one story, a tantrik cursed the city after a beautiful princess spurned him and hurled a bowl of oil containing a love potion meant for her on a wall that collapsed and buried the tantrik. The dying man put a curse on Bhangarh saying the kingdom would be wiped out overnight and would never be inhabited again, except for the temples.

Today many barrack like constructions, dot the cobbled path leading up to an old fort, casting an eerie impression on the visitor.

It opens up to a huge open space that is littered with rubbles of temples. Beyond the central square, the fort rises in the foothills. It was seven-storey high but only four of its stories remain today.

The RTDC is offering 11 tour packages from Delhi to Rajasthan during CWG with ten per cent discount from September 1 to October 10 this year.

The tourist season in the state also begins from this period, and lasts till April.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

NZ name youngest ever Commonwealth Games athlete

New Zealand has selected Gabrielle Armstrong-Scott, its youngest ever athlete to participate in Delhi Commonwealth Games later this year.

Armstrong-Scott, a class 10 student at St Catherine's College in Wellington, will represent New Zealand in the 10 metre platform and one metre springboard. Currently aged 13, Gabrielle will be just 14 years and 34 days when the games open on October 3.

Nikki Jenkins, who won gold at the Auckland Commonwealth Games in 1990, was the previous youngest competitor at 14 years and seven months.

Danyon Loader, who holds the greatest number of Commonwealth Games swimming medals, was 14 years and nine months at the Auckland Games.

Diving High Performance Manager Luvaine McDonald says Armstrong-Scott's selection is significant for diving.

"The Commonwealth Games are an elite event in the sport of diving with Australia, Canada and Malaysia producing some of the world's top divers," she said.

"For a minority New Zealand sport, her selection, resulting from current performance, is significant."

McDonald credits coach Steven Zhu, originally from China, as well as a strong team of sponsors and professionals behind Armstrong-Scott.

"With private funding we were able to bring Steven to Wellington. He has coached medal-winning Chinese Olympians and we are seeing his work with Gabrielle pay-off."

Armstrong-Scott trains 22 hours each week with sessions taking place before and after school and is focused on executing more difficult dives to increase her ability to score well.

While the selection criteria for the Commonwealth Games is a top six ranking, Armstrong-Scott sits just outside this, ranked currently ninth in the Commonwealth.

New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general Barry Maister believes flexibility in Armstrong-Scott's case is warranted.

"The level of competition within diving at the Commonwealth is extremely high and Olympic medalists will be among those competing at Delhi," he said.

"These factors, combined with Gabrielle's age, rate of improvement and the fact she is competing in a non-funded sport, contributed to the selectors decision. She is a strong prospect for the London Olympic Games and beyond."

Armstrong-Scott will head to Tuscon, Arizona this September for the Junior World Championships as part of her pre-games build-up.

New Zealand Commonwealth Games squad is expected to number 195 athletes and 100 support staff. The final selections will be made in early August and the Commonwealth Games take place in Delhi, India, October 3-14.

CWG brand ambassador to be announced next week

Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot said that the brand ambassador for the October 3-14 event will be announced by the end of next week.

"We have a list of names prepared and we will be announcing it by next week." Bhanot said.

Archery Association of India President V K Malhotra had proposed the name of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, who was also the face of Asian Games in 1982, as the brand ambassador but the Organising Committee rejected the proposal.

In fact, Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of CWG 2010 Organising Committee, made it clear that face of the Delhi Games would not be an actor but a sportsperson.

"Brand Ambassador for the Games will be a young sports personality," Kalmadi had said in a press conference last month.

Names of sportspersons like Vijender Singh and Mary Kom have been doing the rounds as possible contenders.

Vijender won bronze medal for India in 2008 Beijing Olympics, while Mary Kom have been a four-time World Champion.

5th appearance at CWG for shooter Gault

Michael Gault could become the most decorated Commonwealth Games athlete after being named in the 22-strong England squad for the 2010 Games.
The 56-year-old pistol shooter from Norfolk has won 15 medals in four Games and says this year's competition in Dehli will probably be his last.

"I've got the chance of becoming the most successful athlete in the history of the Games from any country."

Gault has been entered in up to eight competitions in Dehli - the Games take place between 3 and 14 October. He is already England's most successful Commonwealth athlete, having passed Karen Pickering's previous record haul of 13 medals at the last Games in Melbourne in 2006.

If he wins four more medals, he will pass the all-time record of Australian pistol shooter Phillip Adams to become best ever athelete, who won 18 medals in six Games.

The Delhi shooting team also includes 19-year-old rifle shooter James Huckle, who won a hat-trick of gold medals from the 50m rifle prone, 10m air rifle and the 50m rifle three-positions at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Delhi gets its first sports climbing wall

India's perception towards sports seems to be changing and some of the credit can go to Commonwealth Games. Today, India is looking at alternatives to Cricket and the same is visible in India's resurgence in sports like Boxing, Formula 1 and Badminton. On Monday India's first-ever international standard sport climbing wall was inaugurated which will give a boost to the adventure sports in the country.

Sport climbing is a style of rock climbing and the walls used for the discipline has permanent anchors fixed to the surface which is used by the climbers.

The 15-meter state-of-the-art wall has two climbing surfaces - difficulty wall and speed wall. Three persons can climb on the difficulty wall le two can compete on the speed wall simultaneously.

This is the first sport climbing wall of its kind and the features will attract not only the Indian climbers but also internationally acclaimed climbers to take part in future competitions in India.

The new infrastructure will enable IMF (Indian Mountaineering Foundation) to organize World Cup or World Championships in India in future which will add another field of adventure competitions in the country.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Sports ministry's legacy plan for stadia

The Union government has been pulling out all stops to host a magnificent Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Almost $2.3 billion have been spent for the succesful organisation of the October 3 to 14 event, out of which $ 600 million wereallocated for the redevelopment of five stadia — Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Stadium complex, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Complex and Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges.

To maintain these magnificent structures after the Games, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has come up with a ‘Legacy Plan’ that involves Public Private Partnership (PPP) for operations and maintenance of these stadia. Under the plan, each stadium, under a separate contract, will be handed over to private sector entities after the conclusion of the Games.

“The keystones of the plan are to encourage community participation in sports leading to the overall development of a sporting culture in the capital, the self-sustainability of each facility so as to provide a model for development and operations of future sports infrastructure in the country and world-class maintenance of the each facility,” the Request for Qualification (RFQ) issued by the ministry states.

According to the proposed contract, the selected entity will get rights to use the facilities for sporting and allowed non-sporting activities so as to ensure sustainability of the projects. The probable sources of revenue for the private entities could be event hosting fee (for sporting and non-sporting events), club revenues, rent from built-up space and naming rights (as per the terms and conditions of the proposed concession agreement).

“We’ll be handing over the stadia on 10-year licences to the corporates. Both parties will of course have an exit clause in the contract. The RFQ has already generated a reasonably good response and we expect more to pour in before the last date for application which is August 23,” Pravir Krishn, joint secretary in the sports ministry, told this newspaper on Saturday.

The government is only interested in inviting serious players, placing a Rs 1,000 crores net worth requirement for companies that are interested in bidding for Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex and Rs 500 crores net worth for the other three venues.

“We only want genuinely interested bidders. These are all well-placed assets and an initiative like this will herald a new beginning for sports. Till now the government has been doing 99 per cent of the work, it is time for the corporates to contribute as well,” Krishn added.

Sources indicate newly-formed joint venture IMG-Reliance could be one of the interested parties in the bid. But other corporates are still sceptical about the project.

“If a company is making a major investment like this it will not be interested in just maintaining the stadia. They will like to change it according to their requirement. It will be interesting see the goverment’s revenue generation model,” a senior official of a leading real estate company said.

For the corporates, cricket is still the primary source of assured revenue. “If it was a cricket stadium, corporates would not think twice. Football and hockey follow in that order, but these also have limited viewers in this country.

“Opening high-end clubs at these venues is an option, but apart from the JN Stadium these are not centrally located. In addition to this, you need to create a certain ambience for your exclusive clientele, which may not be possible here,” the official added.

Approval and subsidy for private guest houses

Guest house owners in Delhi will be provided with temporary licences, announced by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for renovation/modernization of their properties before the Commonwealth Games. This information was given by Sujit Banerjee, Secretary Tourism, Government of India.

Banerjee said that Additional Commissioner of Police – Licencing, Delhi Police has been asked to issue the licences to the guest houses, who want to avail the scheme. There were reports that majority of the guest houses in Delhi cannot avail the subsidy scheme as most of them did not have proper licences.

He said, “We want the guest house owners to avail this facility without further delay. Weekly special camps are being set up in Karol Bagh and Paharganj to sort out application processing related with the subsidy scheme.” When asked about the slow and poor quality of civic work being undertaken by the civic agency in these areas, Banerjee said that he is ‘concerned’ with the progress of work in Karol Bagh area.

Commenting on the delay in relation to ‘single window’ approval for Tourism schemes, Banerjee said that Group of Secretaries has already given the approval for the same and is awaiting the approval from the cabinet. To a specific question on government’s stand on extending the ‘tax holiday’ scheme for hotels opening even ‘partially’ within the deadline, i.e., July 31, Banerjee said that government has not taken a stand on it. “We will take a call on that,” he informed.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Commonwealth Games infrastructure ready

Suresh Kalmadi, the Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, on Friday said the infrastructure for the Games is complete.

Addressing media persons on the occasion of the setting up of the first venue operational team here, Kalmadi: "Finally, everything is falling into place; there are challenges now; the infrastructure part is over.

The airport has happened, the metro has happened, now the flyovers and roads and all things are going on, that will happen and then finally the Games.

Upto the time of the Games, most of the work is Organising Committee's work, so have to be on our toes and make sure everything goes off well".

He said that Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell had initially shown apprehension over the completion of the inaugural venue, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, butwas now satisfied with the progress made.

"Mr. Fennell had come who had doubts about it, but he has come back and said that it is 'A-One'. There were two venues, which were lacking behind, one was Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and one was the swimming one, Talkatora Swimming Pool. That's also okay now. We are having our test events now in both these places," he added.

He said the Commonwealth Games would be the best and comparable to international standards.

"Every venue is better than the other. Whether it is the Games Village, it's one of the best games villages. It is better even than the Beijing games village. So, everything is now world class," he said.

Test events have given Indian players a chance to train under foreign expertise, and therefore, they are expecting ample medals for the country this year, he said.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 will be held from October 3 to 14.

Isle of Man's squad for Commonwealth Games

The Isle of Man will send its largest ever Commonwealth Games squad to Delhi in October. A team of 31 competitors and 14 officials have been named by the Commonwealth Games Association of the Isle of Man.

A Manx squad of archers is included for the first time alongside badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, shooting and swimming. General team manager Trevor Taubman says that’s testament to the talent on the Island.

The team is as follows:-

Archery - Adrian Bruce, Aalin George, Sarah Rigby

Badminton - Cristen Callow, Kim Clague, Josh Green, Matt Wilkinson

Boxing - Krystian Borucki, Dominic Winrow

Cycling - Jonny Bellis, Mark Cavendish, Mark Christian, Graeme Hatcher, Peter Kennaugh, Tim Kennaugh, Andrew Roche, Chris Whorrall

Gymnastics - Alex Hedges, Mukunda Measuria, Joe Smith

Shooting - Clementine Kermode Clague, Harry Creevy, Jake Keeling, Gemma Kermode, Tim Kneale, Dave Moore, Neil Parsons, Dan Shacklock, Lara Ward, Steven Watterson

Swimming - Grant Halsall

Commonwealth Games OC takes over Talkatora stadium

Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee took over the first completed venue on Friday — the Talkatora indoor boxing stadium. With construction over, the Organising Committee will now focus on the remaining technical work at the venue.

Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the CWG OC, said that in the coming week, the OC would be taking over more venues, a process that would continue for another month. "All stadiums are ready and some small works are left at the Talkatora and Jawahar Lal Nehru stadia" he said.

Kalmadi added that all training areas were also complete but most individual sports committees had informed them that they would not need to use the facility for more than a couple of weeks. "It is only partially true that the training arenas were delayed where athletes could practise but we will make up for lost time," he said.

The Talkatora stadium is one of the city's greenest buildings, having been constructed with recycled building material, fly ash and heat reflective glass.

The boxing event is scheduled from October 5 to 13.

The stadium, with a capacity of 3,035, has been built at a cost of Rs 150 crore. It also boasts of a parking space for 500 cars. With the OC taking over, about 80 of its members and about 500 volunteers would be stationed here eventually.

The facility centre at the venue is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a dual knob flushing system. Around 200 CCTVs will secure the venue. During the Games, each floor of the centre would be used for different purposes. The ground floor for instance will have athlete cubicles, medical office warm-up area and athlete lounge. The first floor will have a doping-control office, federation office, technical official lounge, committee room, meeting room and changing rooms, among other facilities.

Friday, 9 July 2010

2000 CWG volunteers from Jamia University

Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia university will depute 2,000 student volunteers for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) here Oct 3-14, a statement said Friday.

More than 1,000 National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers of the university along with 1,000 other students will participate in the event.

(Volunteer Training begins at Amity University Campus)

Volunteers from Jamia University will provide assistance to the Delhi Traffic Police, handle emergency situations and volunteer as tourist guides, the release said.

Currently, training is going on for more than 30,000 volunteers selected for Commonwealth Games.

(Commonwealth Games volunteer positions and opportunities)

The ministry of youth affairs and sports developed a special Commonwealth Games training module for students from Jamia University. The module is divided into eight sessions comprising comprehensive details on the background of the Common wealth Games, heritage of Delhi, workforce operations, accreditation process for different groups, conflict resolution and communication.

Australia announce diving team for Common Wealth Games

Australia announced a 12 member diving team bound for 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The team led by Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham is set to prove its dominance in the medal tally at Delhi games.

Mitcham’s performance in the Commonwealth Games diving trials held in Perth earlier this week qualified him for four events, despite him confessing injury concerns about his heavy workload.

He will compete in the 1m springboard, 10m platform, 3m springboard synchro and 10m platform synchro events at the Commonwealth Games in October.

(Commonwealth Games diving events and schedule)

"I was very happy with my form throughout these trials," Mitcham said.

"I was a bit nervous going into the trials but finished strongly yesterday in my favourite 10m platform event and I’m very happy to be in the team."

Mitcham shot to prominence with his breakout performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when his last dive gave him a near-perfect score to win gold and has since been competing in gruelling international competition as he targets a similar result at the 2012 London Olympics.

Mitcham will be joined by 11 other divers, including reigning Commonwealth Games champions Sharleen Stratton and Briony Cole who will be chasing back-to-back gold medals in the 3m springboard synchro event in Delhi.

Alexandra Croak was added to the squad despite pulling out from the trials with a back injury and will have to undergo a fitness test to see if she can compete.

Croak, who has the unique distinction of being the only Australian to medal in two different sports at the Commonwealth Games – gymnastics and diving – will join Beijing Olympic silver medalist Melissa Wu in the 10m platform synchro event.

Victorian James O’Connor, 15, is the youngest member of the team and will make his Commonwealth Games debut with Anabelle Smith (VIC), Olivia Wright (NSW), Jaele Patrick (VIC), Ethan Warren (QLD) and Grant Nel (VIC).

Diving Australia High Performance Manager Graeme Rose said it was expected the current Australian diving team would continue the tradition of winning high number of medals at Commonwealth Games.

"Australia will face tough opposition from Canada, England and Malaysia, however this team is one of our strongest teams to represent Australia at Commonwealth Games," he said.

"The team is a nice blend of experience and youth and we’re expecting to do quite well."

Queen's Baton reaches Uttar Pradesh

The Queen's Baton Relay for the 2010 Commonwealth Games was accorded a rousing reception Thursday as it entered Uttar Pradesh, officials said.

The baton relay, which entered the state's Bareilly district from Uttarakhand, was received by officials of the Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association (UPOA) and other dignitaries.

'The main function was held at Bareilly stadium, where the baton reached at around 6 p.m.,' UPOA general secretary Anandeshwar Pandey told reporters in Bareilly, some 250 km from Lucknow.

'The baton will be in Bareilly tonight. Tight security arrangements have been made in view of the night stay,' he added.

According to the UPOA, the baton will reach the state capital Lucknow Friday.

'The relay will be accorded a warm welcome at Itaunja (on the outskirts of the capital), where the baton would be received by UPOA members and other dignitaries,' said Lucknow District Magistrate Anil Sagar.

'A number of cultural events will be organised in the state capital to welcome the Queen's Baton Relay. Several photo sessions will take place at historic places in Lucknow to mark the arrival of the baton. Later, on the same day it will head for City Montessori School's Kanpur Road branch, where the main function will be held,' he added.

The customary Queen's Baton Relay run would be organised in Lucknow July 10. The baton will later travel around 19 districts of the state, before it reaches Bihar July 13, and re-enter Uttar Pradesh from Jhansi district July 19, Pandey said.

The baton has travelled nearly 170,000 km through nearly 70 Commonwealth countries before arriving in India for the Games Oct 3-14 in New Delhi.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Shelly-Ann Fraser tests positive for banned substance

World and Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser tested positive for a banned substance. She has subsequently withdrawn from today's IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, because of IAAF positive finding. The news came a day after Fraser informed that she will not be able to compete in this year's Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi.

Fraser, who won the 100m at both the Beijing Olympic Games (2008) and Berlin World Championships (2009), will now fly back to Jamaica for a hearing. The findings came from the use of pain medication she used in May when she was in China after suffering excruciating pain from a dental procedure. Fraser failed to inform IAAF about the medication used under prescription from a Chinese dentist.

Fraser's track & field club, MVP through its President Bruce James, broke the news on Thursday. "We are coming forward with this information, because we have nothing to hide. The positive finding is not a performance enhancing drug or a masking agent and therefore we want to have this matter resolved as fast as possible. We are the ones who are making the immediate decision to come public with this."

"We have withdrawn her from competition", said James of the Jamaican 100m record holder at 10.73secs. She was down to face Camerlita Jeter, Sherone Simpson and Chandra Sturrup in Lausanne. "We want to deal with this in an open and transparent manner."

IAAF confirmed with the staff of MVP that she could compete as the matter is still being investigated but they chose to not go that route and thought it best to withdraw Fraser until the matter was cleared up by a hearing panel in Jamaica.

Zoe Smith selected for Delhi Commonwealth Games

16 years old Zoe Smith will become the youngest ever weightlifter to represent England at the Commonwealth Games after being named in a 12-strong team.

Smith will compete in the 58kg group in India, after taking silver at the European Youth Championships in June.

Zoe, who sealed her place in the squad with a combined lift of 188kg at the British Weightlifting Championships in Kilmarnock, said: "I'm pretty excited about it. At the moment it's as big as the Olympic Games to me. I think it will really help me on the way to 2012.

Smith has broken more than 300 records since taking up the sport four years ago.

She also took Gold at under-53kg at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune.

"The atmosphere there (in Delhi) will be phenomenal. I really enjoyed being in Pune and I'm looking forward to going back to India."

Also selected in the weightlifting team are Gurbinder Cheema and Jo Calvino, who both finished fourth at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and will each be competing in their third successive Commonwealth Games.

"Like everyone else, I'm obviously going for gold in Delhi. I think that's a realistic prospect. I'm going to give it my all and see what happens on the day."

Smith is 13th in the Commonwealth rankings for under-58kg, but she is expected to climb up the rankings when they are updated to include her European Youths performances.

Maggie Lynes, England's weightlifting team manager, said: "Zoe has demonstrated her potential to podium at major championships and it's very exciting to have her in the team.

"I think the whole team has the potential to do well in Delhi. They are all capable of performing on the day and now selection is out of the way, they can focus on their training for the Commonwealth Games."

The Games in Delhi will be the third to feature women's weightlifting and powerlifting for athletes with disabilities, and the first to showcase women's powerlifting for disabled athletes.
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