Thursday, 30 September 2010

Shera stamps a hit amongst athletes at CWG village

The post office at the Commonwealth Games Village is doing brisk business. At the centre of attraction for foreign athletes is the set of Shera postage stamps, selling like hot cakes.

The postal department opened a post office in the International Zone of the Games Village Sep 16 to provide a vend for speed post, registered post, ordinary mail and other services. It also houses a philately section where people can buy stamps.

India Post released four stamps - Shera, Queen's Baton, Talkatora Stadium and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium - commemorating the Games. Another stamp will be released Oct 3 on the opening ceremony of the 19th Games.

According to the postal officials, the stamps related to the Games are attracting large number of people.

"We have got an amazing response from athletes and delegates in the Games Village. We have sold stamps worth over Rs.14,000 in last one week. Majority of people are buying the Shera stamp having images of the Games mascot," Veerpal Singh, of India Post.

Singh also said they are very happy with the overwhelming response from the players.

"India will be hosting World Philately Exhibition February and this is a sort of curtain raiser for us. We hope to do more business in the coming days," said Vipin Kumar, another staffer at the Village post ofice.

Brittany Teev, a tennis player from Cook Islands - a net of 15 islands in the heart of South Pacific with a population of a mere 13,200 - said: "I bought 10 Shera stamps as souvenirs for my friends back home. I have also bought lots of postcards having shera stamps to send message back home as it is the cheapest means of communication. The facilities here are brilliant."

Calling it one of the best stores in the Village, Alan Ritche from Scotland said: "It is awesome. The people in the store are so friendly that it is an experience of a lifetime."

Some 7,000 participants and officials from 71 countries and territories are expected to attend the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games, India's biggest sporting event after the 1982 Asian Games.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Australian swimming squad checks in Delhi

The strong 52-member Australian swimming team, which was training in Kuala Lumpur flew down here Wednesday night.

Australian swimmer Eamon Sullivan tweeted describing the conditions in the Games Village as “excellent”

“First night in Delhi down. The apartments are beautiful. Going to the food hall to explore!", he tweeted.

Andrew Lauterstein seemed to be enjoying the village: "Living large in the Village,” he tweeted.

Some swimmers had spent time in the team camp in Malaysia deliberating on whether or not to compete in India.

"There have been (security) concerns right before we came to right to when we were here but not enough to stop them from coming," said head coach Leigh Nugent.

Nugent believes that every Australian team would have had concerned athletes.

"We are no different," Nugent said.

Nugent expressed his relief that all had chosen to travel.

"We sure are (happy)," Nugent said. "Racing starts Monday so we are looking forward to that."

Nugent thinks this team can achieve the Melbourne Commonwealth Games tally of over 50 medals, despite the fact that there are 31 debutants this time around.

"They are good enough," Nugent said.

While the other sports may have been depleted due to withdrawals, the pool is set to be a world class battle with England and Australia set to vie for the top spot on the medals table.

England's team members have been talking up their chances - Australia weren't.

"We will leave the talking to the swimming pool," Nugent said.

England were second to Australia in the swimming medals table in Melbourne with eight golds, 11 silvers and four bronzes. Team England contains Great Britain team members who won a best-ever third spot in the European Championships in August.

The six-day pool programme starts Oct 4.

Dedicated lanes for Commonwealth Games extended

Dedicated lanes for Commonwealth Games in the national capital will now be extended to Major Dhayan Chand Hockey Stadium and Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium from the Games Village. To facilitate Commonwealth Games-related traffic, Delhi Traffic Police has been maintaining dedicated Games Lane from Games Village to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Games Family hotels from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm since September 26.

"Now this has been extended to Major Dhayan Chand Hockey Stadium and Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium from Games Village. For other competition and training Venues, Traffic Police has been facilitating the movement of athletes and officials," a senior police official said today.

A notification relating to the movement of all categories of goods vehicles during Commonwealth Games which will be effective from September 30 to October 15 has also been issued by the Transport Department.

The notification prohibits the entry, plying and idle parking of heavy, medium and light goods vehicles on certain roads during specified timings.

According to the notification, there will be day time restriction on the entry, plying and idle parking of goods vehicles from 6.00 am to 10.00 pm on 84 roads including NH-8, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Aurobindo Marg, Nelson Mandela Marg, Aruna Asaf Ali Road, Thamaiya Marg, Shankar Road, DBG Road and Rani Jhansi Road.

There will be peak hour restrictions on entry, plying and idle parking and 24-hour restriction on certain roads.

CGF also responsible for issues in Delhi

New Zealander Michael Hopper, in charge of the Commonwealth Games in India, must share the blame for the problems related to the event, New Zealand Sports Minister Murray McCully has said.

McCully said there had been too much finger-pointing at Indian officials. Some of the blame lay with Games Federation chief executive Hooper, The New Zealand Herald Friday quoted McCully as saying.

Hooper has been at the centre of a blame game over shoddy conditions at the athletes' village that at one time threatened to derail the Games. He has defended the federation, saying it had implored Indian officials at every opportunity to be ready for the event.

But McCully said Hooper was partly to blame. 'So we should be careful about simply asserting that Indian officials carry all the responsibility.

'He's been based there to oversee those arrangements. I certainly think there's going to be a sharing of responsibility, but this is not the time. Let them do their jobs and leave the serious questions for afterwards. But they should be asked,' McCully said.

Hooper reportedly had said that Delhi's 'population hazard' hampered the organisation of the Games, sparking protests in the Indian capital. Federation president Mike Fennell denied the remark was made.

Hooper also faced criticism for his luxurious lifestyle while staying in India to oversee the Games preparation. The cost, which include tax breaks of $600,000, a rented accommodation worth more than $36,000 monthly and a chauffeured limousine, was paid by the Games Organising Committee.

McCully, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said Indian pride had been hurt by revelations of poor accommodation for athletes, but the damage could be repaired if the Games, starting Sunday, ran smoothly.

'I've got no doubt there were some raw nerves touched, but serious issues of safety and welfare were arising.'

He said he was confident about security in New Delhi but anyone going there should check the foreign ministry.

'There are always some elements of risk in relation to terrorist activities but we don't have any specific information that should be drawn to people's attention at this point.'

500 additional buses for Delhi before CWG

The Delhi High Court Wednesday gave the green signal to the Delhi government and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) to include 500 low-floor buses from the manufacturers Ashok Leyland after they recorded before the court that the new fleet of buses was of the highest standard.

Now the fleet would be used during the Commonwealth Games and would fill the vacuum created by the sudden pullout of 1,600 Blueline buses from Delhi roads. 'Bus supplier will be liable even in case of any problem or in case of third party claims,' said the bench comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Reva Khetrapal.

The CBI had registered a case against Ashok Leyland for supplying sub-standard buses to the Delhi government. After this a showcause notice was issued to the manufacturer by DTC asking why the contract should not be cancelled. The case was registered after a series of mishaps took place in the capital in which several low-floor buses of Ashok Leyland caught fire.

'They have assured that the new buses are safe and even rendered an indemnity bond (taking full financial and other risks for any eventuality). The court was kind enough to allow the buses to be part of the existing fleet,' said Sumit Pushkara, standing counsel for the DTC.

The Delhi government and DTC informed the Delhi High Court Tuesday that they had 'cracked the whip' on one of the bus manufacturers, Ashok Leyland, following which the latter has certified that a fleet of 500 buses made by it meet the highest safety standard.

Informing the bench of Justice Sikri and Justice Khetrapal, standing counsels for the government and DTC, Najmi Waziri and Sumeet Pushkarna said there is an urgent need to put this fleet of 500 buses on the city roads in view of the removal of Bluelines.

CWG baton to reach Delhi on Thursday

The Queen's Baton Relay of the Commonwealth Games will enter the host city on Thursday from the neighbouring state Haryana after completing its 20,000 kilometers journey, passing through all 28 Indian states and seven union territories. The Baton will reach the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee headquarters situated opposite Jantar Mantar on Jai Singh road in New Delhi in the afternoon, where it will be received by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

A slew of events have been planned during the display of the baton at the OC headquarters.

An elaborate three-day display and movement of the QBR in the city has been planned beginning tomorrow.

On Friday, the baton will pass through Vijay Chowk, India Gate, Teen Murti Bhawan, Qutub Minar and Lotus Temple and on Saturday, it will visit Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, St Columba's School and athletes' Games Village.

The 190,000 km long QBR's journey across 71 countries will culminate on October 3 at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium before the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Commonwealth Games tourist info cafes getting good response

Tourist information cafes opened in the capital to provide details about the city to visitors during the Commonwealth Games are getting a good response, said a professional associated with the project.

Forty such cafes are to be opened across the city. These would be a one-point information hub for tourists coming to Delhi during the Oct 3-14 sporting event.

Besides having counters for providing details in eight languages on accommodation, bus routes, food, shopping destinations and culture, the cafes have facilities for food and beverages as well as souvenirs.

The cafes have been conceived by Delhi-based artist Ved Pohoja and his associates. They are built on land provided by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NMDC) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

“As of now the cafes have been opened at Red Fort, Connaught Place and Birla Mandir. By the month-end, all 40 kiosks would become operational. The cafes remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Saurabh Chauhan, who is associated with the project.

Chauhan said the cafes are getting a good public response. “Lots of people are visiting the kiosks seeking information. As of now most of the people are from Delhi but as we get close to the Games we are looking forward to cater to foreign and other tourists, he said.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

3000 athletes are in Delhi for Commonwealth Games

Over 3,100 Indian and foreign athletes have arrived here for the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games. Around 850 athletes arrived Tuesday.

Canadian Susan Nattrass, a six-time Olympian and seven-time world trap shooting champion, was among the athletes who arrived Tuesday. She has two silver and three bronze medals in the Games to her credit.

The Jamaican contingent comprising Allodin Fothergill (men's 400 metres), Lerone Clarke (men's 100m), Oshane Bailey, who held the No.1 position for 100 metres at the Reebok Grand Prix in 2009 and Ricardo Cunningham, an 800 metres specialist has also arrived, an Organising Committee press statement said.

Also in Delhi is the Australian women's hockey team, winners of three Olympic gold medals, five World Cup titles, three Commonwealth Games medals and 12 Champions Trophy titles.

Malaysia had 93 more athletes and officials coming in, the largest contingent Tuesday. These athletes will participate in archery, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, badminton and weightlifting. Northern Ireland, New Zealand, England and Australia were among the countries whose athletes arrived this day.

Vuvuzelas to rock Delhi during Commonwealth Games

The vuvuzela trumpets that became the droning soundtrack to the football World Cup in South Africa are to make a comeback at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Vuvuzelas provoked strong emotions in South Africa, with some fans loving the distinctive low-pitched bellow while others -- including many players, coaches and commentators driven to distraction.

About 10,000 plastic vuvuzela horns have already been sold in Delhi through official merchandising outlets at a cost of 250 rupees (5.5 dollars) each.

"Both Indian and foreigners have been showing a lot of interest, and sales are very good," Jitendra Dang, who runs a stall at the athletes' village.

"It feels that their popularity after South Africa is continuing in India."

Vuvuzelas became the unofficial symbol of the World Cup, but they drowned out crowd chants and made it nearly impossible for players to communicate with each other.

The horns have since been banned by UEFA, European football's governing body, and by several English Premier League club grounds, as well as at many other sporting events.

Indian sports fans are known for their passion -- especially at cricket games -- but tickets are still available for most Games events and it is uncertain if venues will fill with the vuvuzela's monotone blast.

Suresh Kumar, chairman of the Games' official merchandising company Premier Brands, said 50,000 vuvuzelas had been imported from China and 10,000 had already been bought from stalls, shops and from mobile vans.

"People here like them because in India we associate celebrations with noise," he told AFP. "Festivals like Diwali are always very loud.

"Vuvuzelas are the most popular item we are selling. We expect the rest to go by the middle of the Games. And if we have a shortage, we can't get any more because they were ordered from China."

The origins of the vuvuzela -- and the word's meaning -- are unclear, but many believe they were first made from a sheet of metal, and were only popularised in South African sports stadiums in recent years.

Harris Mbulelo Majeke, South Africa's High Commissioner in Delhi, showed locals last week how to blow the horn with a long, loud blast.

"We are going to make a lot of noise. We are going to have lots of fun," he said. "We are going to blast the stadiums with vuvuzelas."

Monday, 27 September 2010

SA sports chief slams CWG critics, supports India

South Africa Sports Confederations and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president, Gideon Sam, is ready to work with CWG organizers if that will ensure the success of the crisis-hit Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India which starts next Sunday.

Sam has slammed first-world countries for criticising the Games’ organisers, despite images from New Delhi highlighting the issues like not so clean athletes’ village, a bridge collapsing near the main venue etc. He called these as excuses for not knowing the host country enough and trying to find a reason to stay in their "holes". To prove the point, swine flu is a problem across the globe but Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Scotland are highlighting the Indian statistics which are pretty much at par with any other country.

“Our athletes will have no excuses if they don’t perform at the Games. If they are unhappy with their rooms because they have not been swept, they must take off their jackets and sweep them themselves,” Sam said.

“We’ll not complain, South Africans don’t do that. And when I get there on Friday, if a toilet is not clean, I’ll clean it myself.”

Some participating nations have delayed their arrival in Delhi as the organisers attempt a last-minute clean-up. Yesterday, however, athletes continued to withdraw from the quadrennial multi-sport event.

Sam said: “We had the same problems with these countries who complained before the FIFA World Cup. “As South Africans, we’ve always supported our friends, and internationally, India and Brazil (hosts for next 2016 Olympics) are our best friends. “We also want to host events like this, and it’s unfair if they are hosted only by countries like England, Canada and Australia.”

Sam said SA had plans in place to ensure the athletes’ safety and provide sufficient medical care.

“We’ll have our own security on top of what the hosts are providing us. The medical team will also be well equipped,” Sam said.

Team England to move into CWG village

After avoiding the Commonwealth Games Village for over two days, the English delegation is all set to move into the campus on Sunday.

A group of around 20 support staff will be the first occupants of the accommodation to ensure that conditions continue to be on track for 48 athletes from the sports of hockey (32), lawn bowls (12) and shooting (4) to move in on Monday.

They will be followed by gymnasts (10), archers (12) and weightlifters (14) on Tuesday, a statement released by the Commonwealth Games England press office said.

England Chef de Mission Craig Hunter said, "It's exciting but also a relief to be able to occupy our accommodation.

"We are now getting back on track with the planned and phased arrival of athletes and we will begin to reach a peak of team numbers (more than 500) on October 5."

He said there is still a lot more to do to be ready for that peak but he would like to pay tribute to their support team staff "who have worked sometimes literally around the clock to get everything in place and safe for the first athletes' arrival."

Hunter said, "It has been a challenging experience but one which will make us (England team) stronger as we strive to be successful now on the field of play."

First batch of Aussies arrive in Delhi for CWG

The first batch of Australian athletes for the Commonwealth Games arrived here early this morning hoping to remain unaffected by the troubled build-up to the event.

Australia’s lawn bowls team landed in the Indian capital in the wee hours this morning.

“Who’d have thought lawn bowls would lead Australia into battle?” said one of the team members.

They are well aware of the criticism that has engulfed the Games Village but the Aussies said they would not form an opinion before having a look at it themselves.

“We’ve heard reports but we’d like to see for ourselves.

We’re going in without expectations and what we see is what we get,” said another player.

“There’s a fair bit of pressure, but we’re pretty confident,” she said.

Later today, Australia’s netball and gymnastics teams will also land here for the October 3 to 14 event.

So far, three Australian athletes have pulled out of the Games - cyclist Travis Meyer, table tennis player Stephanie Sang and discus world champion Dani Samuels.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Scotland team arrives in Delhi

Despite speculations that some of the countries taking part in the Commonwealth Games were set to pull out of the event, some of the leading squads have reached the Indian capital to participate in the sporting extravaganza.

The Scotland team that had delayed departure for the venue of the Games last week arrived amid tight security.

The organisers feel that the arrival of the contingent was a major boost for them amid a plethora of controversies and apprehensions over accommodation, besides security measures of the mega event.

Security concerns were heightened in the Indian capital when two Taiwanese tourists were shot and injured outside the famous Jamia Mosque earlier in the month of September.

Meanwhile, some of the other teams also arrived in the country including the Australian and Kenyan contingents.

The arrival of various contingents gathered pace which put speculations to rest that the Games might not go ahead.

At one stage, speculations were rife that some countries were thinking of a pull out and doubts in this regard were raised further when the Scottish squad delayed its departure to New Delhi.

Upon their arrival, a heavy security contingent and volunteers of the Commonwealth Games gathered at the airport to receive them.

The Scottish team that had gathered media attention due to their delayed departure was escorted by armed policemen as they moved towards the Games Village.

Besides the Scottish squad, a team from South Africa was also spotted boarding the bus that was destined for a local hotel.

The athletes are set to be lodged at hotels across Delhi until the CWG Village is ready to host them.

There was a further boost for the tainted organisers when the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Michael Fennell claimed that he was confident that all leading countries would take part in the event.

India had made big claims when the Games were handed over to them they had the requisite infrastructure to host the event successfully. India which is considered a growing global economic and political power had dreamt of rivalling neighbours’ China.

The Indian government has vowed to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Games were staged on time and gather attention for all the right reasons, rather than all off field action that had dogged the event.

For the time being, the government is recovering from the hit to its image as many sections of the international media have dubbed the event a “major embarrassment” for the world's largest democracy.

New Zealand support staff move into CWG village

New Zealand support staff's move into the Commonwealth Games village is seen as a sign that progress is being made in getting the athletes' accommodation in New Delhi up to scratch, says a top official.

Last week the unhygienic state of the accommodation areas and the amount of work that still needed to be done cast doubt on the Games, which are due to open on Sunday and run until October 14.

The situation led the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) to delay the arrival of the first New Zealand athletes into the village from last Saturday to tomorrow.

A 13-strong New Zealand operations team finally moved in yesterday to spend its first night on site.

"It's certainly an important first step," NZOC president Mike Stanley said.

"We've always said we want to have a team at the Games and we're working really hard, and the team on the ground is working really hard, to ensure that this is the case. This is a signal we are moving in the right direction."

Stanley said chef de mission Dave Currie had consistently said the New Zealanders would not start shifting into their allocated towers until he was confident they were safe and hygienic.

"While all the issues are not solved, they have enough comfort that they can do it."

Stanley said the remaining issues with the accommodation were "becoming more minor".

"There's also the unknown of how everything is going to work under load when you have the whole accommodation block full," he said.

"But the attention is very much turning now to transport and just how efficient that is going to be and are they going to deliver on the plan they said they would."

The first New Zealand athletes expected in New Delhi are the bowls team, who are due to arrive tomorrow just after midnight (local time).

Stanley said the plan at this stage was for them to check into the village on their arrival.

The bowlers were originally scheduled to get into the Indian capital last Saturday, as they wanted plenty of time to get used to the slow greens at the competition venue.

Instead, with the accommodation delay, they headed to Abu Dhabi to continue their preparations.

Stanley, along with NZOC secretary-general Barry Maister, last week made a rushed visit to New Delhi to get a first hand look.

He is due to fly back there on Thursday, this time for the Games themselves.

Asked how much doubt there had been over New Zealand's participation, he said the NZOC's plan was always to have a team at the Games.

"Clearly last week the list of things that had to be done was significant, but we didn't ever sit down and say this is the time we are going to go or not," he said.

"We always said we wanted to ensure that our team was safe and secure and we wouldn't put them in harm's way. We had a certain window to do that. We are still within that, and it's just that problem solving process."

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Botswana team to reach Delhi on 28-Sep

Botswana will send a 26-men strong team to the upcoming Commonwealth Games due to be held in Delhi, India.

The team, which was officially named on Friday, is expected to leave the country on Monday and is expected in India on Tuesday. The team, which is made up of athletics, boxing, bowling and Squash players, will have the Botswana National Olympic Committee Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho, as its Chief of Mission.

Officially sending the team off, the Director of Sport and Recreation, Falcon Sedimo, said there are a lot of expectations for the team to do well at the games.

“The fact that these games are taking place on the back of good performance by several of our national teams, among them the netball team and the Zebras, the nation will be watching team Botswana’s performance at the Delhi games with great interest and anticipation,” Sedimo told the team. He says he is very hopeful that it will meet its set target of bringing home eight medals from the Delhi games. The Sport and Recreation director says while this may seem unattainable, considering that the highest medal number ever accrued at the games was three at the 2002 Manchester Games, the task is not impossible.

Sedimo expressed confidence on the team going to the games, saying ‘the athletes selected to represent the country at the games have what it takes to ensure that the nation is well represented”.

He added that with the country celebrating its 44th Independence next week, bringing home medals will be the best gift the nation could ask for. Sedimo took the moment to urge local sporting bodies ‘to use sport psychologists to help our athletes deal with sport environment within which they compete,’ adding that psychological preparedness is as essential as physical fitness is. The Sport and Recreation Director urged the athletes to show great discipline while at the games, saying while ‘winning is not everything, it is the thing.’

He urged them not to deviate from values that Batswana are known for, which include discipline, humility and cooperation, adding that any deviation will only undo all that many before us have done for this country. Sedimo took the opportunity to caution athletes from using any performance enhancing drugs and called for a spirit of camaraderie and fairness whether they win or lose.

He says while local athletes have not been caught using these in the past, the recent case in which a local athlete was banned for two years for using performance enhancing drugs points to the need for athletes to be educated on this topic.

Meanwhile, Sedimo says they are aware of ‘concerns that have been raised from numerous quarters about the state of readiness of Delhi for delivering the games, and also the concerns on health and security.’

“While these are important concerns, Botswana believes that the government of India and the Local Organising Committee will do their best to deliver games that will remain memorable,” he said, adding that it is not always that major events enjoy a trouble free build up. He says they have been informed that these matters are being addressed as a matter of urgency by the Indian government and the Games Organising Committee. He called upon athletes to take responsibility, saying that while they are guaranteed safety by the organizers, they too have a role to play as regards their safety and security.

The Botswana team is composed of 12 athletes, 12 bowlers, 6 boxers and 2 squash players.
Meanwhile, the local team’s head of mission, Tuelo Serufho is already in India to prepare for the team’s arrival. Serufho left the country for India on Friday.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Who will preside at Commonwealth Games opening..!!!

Officials have not yet decided whether Prince Charles or Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will preside over the opening ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

As head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth usually opens the games, but she will not be attending this year’s event. Many people feel that, as her representative, Prince Charles should preside over the opening but others –including Indian government officials - feel the Indian president should take over the duties.

The Guardian reported that a heated discussion was said to have taken place and a spokesman with the organising committee said: "It is a protocol issue and hasn't been decided yet.”

Buckingham Palace announced earlier this year that the Queen would not attend the games because of a heavy travel schedule. The decision was criticised by some people.

This will be the first time in 44 years that the British monarch has not attended the games. It is expected that Prince Charles will read a letter of encouragement to the athletes on her behalf. Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Edward will also attend the opening ceremony.

The games are scheduled to start on 3 October.

CWG organizers adding green touch to venues

New Delhi, one of the greenest cities in the world, is trying to keep up with its green image for the Commonwealth Games.

New Delhi is on its last leg of the Games preparations.With the stadiums ready, the focus has shifted to beautifying the city.

But plans to create a green cover are running behind schedule.

The capital lost thousands of trees to Metro rail construction, flyovers and other Games-related projects.

Now with no time left to re-grow the greens, the government has turned to potted plants from nearby states, for an instant greening of the Games' venues.

So far, around a million potted plants have been used.

New Delhi Municipal Corporation horticulture director Subhash Chandra said: "We are planting herbs, shrubs, herbaceous plants, foliage plants, ground cover and shrubs to enhance the greenery part during the Commonwealth Games and perennials that can last five to six years".

At the same time, the Games Organisers too, are eager to leave a green footprint.

For example, the Thyagaraj stadium, which will host the netball event, generates its own electricity, using gas turbines and solar panels.

It also harvests rainwater, and is designed to keep the inside temperature cool.

Head of Thyagaraj Sports Complex O.P Bhatia said: "Thyagaraj stadium is the greenest stadium in the world.

"It doesn't leave any carbon footprint. We have the solar panel, and we have our own turbines. Whatever electricity we produce and the vapours we release, we use it for air-conditioning.

"Even our flooring is made from the rags and leftover (material)".

Even the Games mascot Shera is promoting the green drive.

A statue of Shera, made of 250,000 polythene bags, stands tall in New Delhi .

As part of the city's "say no to plastic bags" campaign, people are reminded by the mascot to use cloth or jute bags instead.

Delhi is the greenest metro city in India with more than 20 per cent area under forest and tree cover.

In the last two decades, its green cover has grown ten folds.

For every tree cut, the New Delhi government has made it compulsory to plant 10 saplings in its place.

Even though a lot of trees have been cut for Commonwealth Games projects, in the next few years, New Delhi is hoping to gain back its greenery.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Delhi can't get worse than Athens: CWG England chief

Commonwealth Games England president Dame Kelly Holmes came to the defence of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and said that delays are part and parcel of any multi-sporting event.

Holmes, a former Olympic double gold medallist who visited Delhi last month along with Prime Minister David Cameron, cited the example of the 2004 Olympics and said the state of preparation in Delhi can't be as bad as the one she saw in Athens.

"I compare it to the Athens Olympics when they were still planting trees on the day it opened. I don't think it can get any worse than that," Holmes was quoted as saying by The Times.

Holmes, however, returned home unimpressed with the state of some venues in Delhi.

"I was there on the prime ministerial visit and I'm not going to lie, some of the venues looked like a building site," Holmes said.

The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC), already buffetted by corruption charges, suffered a serious blow when a foot overbridge outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsed Tuesday morning.

Things only got worse for the CGOC when a portion of false ceiling came down at the weighlifting venue of the Nehru Stadium Wednesday though nobody was injured.

Holmes said the Games have been marred by several delays but she was hopeful that it would make the people of India proud.

"It is a fair point with a nation where so many people are in unfortunate positions, but I really hope the Games brings a different energy and makes some people feel proud. I just hope the general public in India will be given the chance to go to the Games," Holmes said.

Lockdown of CWG venues, open only to pass holders

Commonwealth Games venues and Athletes Village will have a complete lockdown from midnight on Wednesday with entry to be allowed only to those carrying valid passes.

A large number of armed policemen, including paramilitary personnel, have been deployed across the stadia and village. Sophisticated gadgets have also been installed at the stadia.

"The lockdown will start from this midnight," a senior police official said.

The security has been stepped up across the city after Sunday's firing incident at Jama Masjid that injured two Taiwanese nationals.

Delhi Police, which is the nodal agency for Games security, have conducted various drills, including anti-sabotage checks once they take over possession of the venues, the official said.

Apart from around 80,000 Delhi Police personnel, over 17,500 paramilitary personnel, 3,000 commandos and 100 anti-sabotage check teams will be deployed across the city. The army has been asked to be alert.

Concerns were earlier raised about the delay in handing over venues to security agencies as some quarters felt that it would hamper the security preparations.

Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal, however, had downplayed the delay and said the force was prepared to handle the security issues related to the sporting extravaganza.

"We know the stadia and surrounding areas. We know the city very well. So securing them or other areas will not be a problem," Dadwal had said when asked whether the delay in completion of Games projects was compromising security preparedness.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram also reviewed the arrangements.

Heli-borne snipers, four-layered security cordon around Commonwealth Games venues and exclusive lanes for Games vehicles were among the components of the mammoth security plan for the event.

The security plan prepared for the mega event, which will see participation of around 8,500 athletes from 71 countries competing in 17 events, also envisages snipers on rooftops, commando hit teams and expert groups to tackle any chemical, biological, radio-active or nuclear attacks.

Air Force will provide surveillance from the skies. Heli-borne assault teams will also be deployed to thwart any terror strikes.

"We are closely working with central Intelligence agencies. The Air Force will be surveying the airspace. We will have heli-borne snipers patrolling the skies," the official said.

According to the plan, the venues, Games Village, practice and parking lots and the Indira Gandhi International Airport where athletes arrive will have a four-layered security cordon.

At the outer cordon, the traffic will be stopped and access controlled. At the middle cordon, security-men will channelise the spectators to their designated seats while in the inner cordon, barcode reading of tickets will take place and spectators' photographs taken.

At the centre would be an exclusion zone which is in the 30-m-radius of the stadium, where spectators and others will have to go through door-frame metal detectors and X-ray scanning besides manual searching.

Mobile Quick Reaction teams will be deployed on the outer perimeter of the venues besides a close watch through CCTV surveillance.

The Games village will also have a similar elaborate security arrangement. The boundary of the village will have a three metre high perimeter wall, a 1.5-m-high iron grill on top of it, mobile QRTs and CCTV surveillance system.

Elaborate arrangements are also made for the entry for athletes and vehicles into the village. After entering the village following a thorough check, the athletes can freely move around the residential and dining halls.

For vehicles, the drivers will have to pass through radio frequency identity checking where the number plates are checked to see whether are authorised to enter the place.

There is a boom barrier and it will be opened only after the vehicle clears the radio frequency checking. But if somebody tries to forcefully enter, there will be a tyre-killer and even if the vehicle clears it, the road blocker will block the passage of the vehicle.

At the hotels, there will be "robust" security arrangements with watch towers, CCTV surveillance and access control.

"All food prepared and served for Games guests in hotels will be sorted by security personnel and tasted by food experts," the official said.

With large number of athletes, officials and tourists reaching the city for the Games, security at and around the Indira Gandhi International Airport is also being augmented.

Anti-sabotage teams, commando hit teams and snipers at rooftop are some of the other components of the security plan for the safe journey of athletes and other officials.

On the movement of athletes and other officials to the venues, the official said commandos will be deployed on buses they travel.

Police has also procured three armoured cars ahead of the Games and these vehicles will move around the city and sometimes will be stationed at the venues during the Games. Each carrying 30 commandos, the armoured vehicles will be deployed to tackle eventualities like terror strikes.

For the Games, Delhi Police personnel are also being specially trained in frisking, search operations and screening baggage through X-ray machines. Special training on enhancing communication skills and behavioural patterns are also being imparted.

Air quanity monitoring system launched

India launched the air quality monitoring system for the Commonwealth Games. The system will provide real time pollution data at 11 key locations in the city during the mega-event.

Developed by scientists at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the System of Air Pollution Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was launched at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here by Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the ministry of earth sciences.

SAFAR will provide information on air quality on an hourly basis and forecast pollution levels 24 hours in advance through wireless colour digital display panels located at 11 key points near the Games venues and the Games Village.

The IITM has also prepared an emission inventory for the Games to provide accurate air quality information.

The inventory has been prepared using data – number of vehicles, industries, shanties, hotels and restaurants and other sources – collected from near Games venues and the Games Village after a two-month long exercise.

Some 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories are expected to participate in the Games, India’s biggest sporting event since the 1982 Asian Games.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Commonwealth Games main press center open for business

The Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni today inaugurated the state-of-the-art Main Press Center (MPC) and International Broadcast Centre for Common Wealth Games 2010 at Pragati Maidan. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that MPC had been completed in the stipulated time and the project did not entail any cost overrun.

The MPC will be operational on September 23 for the national and international Press. The largest Press Centre in the history of the Commonwealth Games will have many world-class facilities for the visiting journalists. The centre will be run by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). The facilities at the Main Press Centre is an example of successful partnership between Government, PSU and the Private Sector. Broadcast Engineering Consultant Limited (BECIL), a PSU of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is the Turnkey Delivery Partner for the Project. A dedicated workforce of around 1,000 people will run the Press Operations at the MPC and across 18 venues during the Games.

The MPC is located at Hall No.12 and 12A in the Indian Trade Promotion Organization Complex at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi and will work 24 hours from October 1 to October 15. Spread across 6,700 sq mts with Wi-Fi facility, it will cater to about 2,000 journalists, including around 800 from overseas. It can accommodate 600 journalists at a time. The Workforce for the MPC and 18 venues includes 236 professionals and 135 interns from Indian Institute of Mass Communication and 600 volunteers.

In order to provide hassle-free conditions for the media, the Central Work Area at the MPC will have workstations for 400 journalists and 200 photographers. This includes three hundred desktop computers with broadband connectivity (200 for journalists and 100 for photographers). Whereas, the Games Information System terminals at the Central Work area will provide games related details such as results, biographies and news items.

Apart from the Central Work Area, six news and photo agencies – Getty Images, Agency France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press (AP), Australian Associated Press (AAP), News Limited and Press Association -- will have their private offices at the MPC. These private office spaces have been booked through the Press Rate card.

600 National and International photographers will be covering the Games. About 1300 Photo Positions across 17 games venues. The Photographers will be facilitated with 200 work stations with all technological support in Main Press Center and about 500 in different games venues to send their work across the world. They will be also provided with about 650 Lockers in all 20 venues to safely keep their equipments during the games. The accreditated Photographers will get Technical advice, Cleaning, checking and repairs services of professional camera bodies, lenses and accessories through Nikon and Canon service center in MPC. Nikon and Canon will also loan lenses and accessories to the Photographers on first cum first serve basis. A photo-exhibition of the Indian Photojournalists represented by Working News Cameraman’s Association (WNCA) is displaying the work of working photographers at the MPC.

The host of other facilities includes a 300-seat Press conference room and a Press Briefing Room which can accommodate about 100 people. For the first time in the history of the Games, the MPC will also have High Definition CATVs in eight live viewing rooms as well as in the work area to watch the games. Besides, there will be two one-on-one interview rooms and service centres of Canon and Nikon for photojournalists.

To further assist the visitors on sports as well as other issues, helpdesks at the main lobby will provide information on travel, ticketing, venues and various schedules as well as services like distribution of media kits and Prime Event Limited tickets. To reach different venues, journalists can take T4 buses from the Transportation Mall, situated near the MPC.

For food and recreation, the MPC will have a media lounge with catering services, while a round-the-clock food court will be located just opposite to the centre.

In addition to that, the Retail Plaza inside the MPC will have facilities like post office, convenience store, pharmacy, mobile store and a bank with foreign exchange service and ATM.

CM inaugurates tourist information kiosks

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today inaugurated a "tourist information cafe" in the city which would cater to the information needs of both native and foreign visitors to the capital during and after the Commonwealth Games.

The tourist information cafe is a combination of an interactive touch screen, a quick bite-cum-beverages and Delhi Memories Counter. Similar kiosks are being set up in various parts of the city.

After inaugurating the kiosk near the Birla Mandir in central Delhi, Dikshit said she was hopeful the cafes would be beneficial to the visitors during the Games and would provide them with all the details they want.

The touch screen with various sub sections gives details on the culture, food, tourist attractions and shopping among others which may be required by the visitors.
The information is available in eight foreign and Indian languages.

Thirty-eight more cafes are all set to be operational in the next week.
Delhi Memories counter has a collection of T-shirts, caps, bags, crockery, chocolates, stationery, key chains among other stuff.

The kiosk was designed by a Delhi-based artist Ved Pohoja and three of his associates and would be operational today onwards for 60 days.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Glasgow trio prepare for Commonwealth Games flag handover

Three youngsters from Inverclyde have embarked on an intensive three-week bootcamp to train for their role in the official handover of the Commonwealth Flag from Delhi to Glasgow.

Rachel Bushfield, Lee Oribine and Louis Hoodless are among some 350 Scots preparing to perform a mass synchronised dance at the closing ceremony of the Delhi Commonwealth Games on October 14.

The flag handover ceremony will draw the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games to a close and will be the first public statement to the world that Glasgow will be the next host city in 2014.

Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld said: “I am delighted that Rachel, Lee and Louis will be representing Inverclyde, performing in front of a capacity crowd of 60,000 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi. We are all very excited about the challenge that lies ahead for them and I am sure they will make us all proud.”

Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive John Scott said: “After the handover ceremony, cast members will become ambassadors for the Games in their community, and will be involved with the Games for the next four years, leaving a positive and direct legacy that is Scotland-wide.”

Rachel said: “It is quite overwhelming to think that the performance will be beamed live across the Commonwealth to an estimated audience of 1 billion people. We are all bursting to see how the performance will take shape and find out exactly what we will be doing. We think bootcamp will be amazing.”

Councillor Iain McKenzie said: “The Games in Delhi are just a few weeks away now and I think it is fantastic that Inverclyde will play a part in the handover celebrations ahead of Glasgow 2014. We are also looking forward to playing our part in four years time with a refurbished Ravenscraig Stadium and other leisure facilities available for training to the Commonwealth’s top athletes.”

Commonwealth Games village niggles cause concern

Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell on Tuesday asked the Indian government to take immediate steps to fix the condition of Games Village's residential zone, which according to him, has "upset" many contingents.

With just 12 days to go for the sporting extravaganza, the CGF chief has expressed doubts over the state of what he called a "compromised" Games Village.

In a statement, Fennell said he had written to the Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekar and requested him to take urgent steps before the first batch of athletes arrive on Thursday.

"The final preparations for the Commonwealth Games Village have been of concern to the CGF since viewing the residential zone along with a number of Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) advance parties on September 15," the CGF president said.

"Many issues remain unresolved and as such last night I wrote to the Indian Cabinet Secretary, expressing my great concern with the preparedness of the Athletes Village," Fennell said in the statement.

"The condition of the residential zone has shocked the majority of CGAs that are in Delhi. However, with the Village to be officially opened on September 23, timely acceptable solutions to prepare for the arrival of athletes are of paramount importance.

"The CGF has asked the Cabinet Secretary to immediately deploy the necessary resources to fix all the outstanding issues to an acceptable level," Fennell added.

Fennell's strongly-worded statement came after advanced parties from New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland have raised serious concerns regarding the filthy and unhealthy condition of the residential zone of the Games Village.

"The Village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition.

"Many nations that have already sent their advanced parties to set up within the Village have made it abundantly clear that, as of the afternoon of September 20, the Commonwealth Games Village is seriously compromised," Fennell said.

He said problems have emerged because deadlines for the completion of the Village had been consistently missed.

"Now, the high security around the site, while vital, is slowing progress and complicating solutions," Fennell added.

In the wake of Sunday's firing incident in the Capital, the CGF chief reiterated that security continues to remain of "utmost importance" to the Federation.

"Security remains of the utmost importance to the CGF and our advisors continue to monitor the situation. Currently, this matter remains on track," Fennell said.

"CGF CEO, Mike Hooper, and his staff are already in Delhi and are keeping me constantly informed of the situation and developments," he added.

Canadian Weightlifting squad for Commonwealth Games

The Canadian Weightlifting Federation and Commonwealth Games Canada today announced the weightlifters that will represent Canada at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, October 3rd to 14th.

The Canadian weightlifting team will be led by a trio of female powerhouses who were all silver medalists of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

The squad will count on the leadership of Christine Girard (63 kg), participating in her third Commonwealth Games, who finished 4th at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Another medal hopeful, Marilou Dozois-Prévost (48 kg) finished 10th at the Beijing Olympics and was also a silver medallist in Melbourne. Rounding out the trio is Emily Quarton (58 kg), a serious threat in her weight class.

Jasvir Singh (62 kg), born in Karna, India, is also a member of the Canadian team. In 2008, Singh became the first Indo-Canadian in history to represent Canada in weightlifting. Although Singh qualified for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, he was not yet eligible due to citizenship issues. He became a Canadian citizen in time to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where he finished 12th in the 62 kg class.

Singh is now focused on winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. "Right now, I am 100 per cent focused. I feel very fortunate," he says. "I feel extremely proud and happy. These Games will be one of the most memorable competitions of my life."

Mathieu Marineau (85 kg) earned a gold medal at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India. At the time, he declared that his experience in Pune was so fantastic that he wanted to come back to India for the Commonwealth Games. Paul Dumais (85 kg), a 2008 Youth Games gold medallist, is another an athlete to watch. Coach, Pierre Roy, was also a member of the team that travelled to Pune.

"I came away from the National Championships in May totally inspired by these remarkable athletes," said Team Canada Chef de Mission, Martha Deacon. "We've got a group here who've proven they can deliver podium performances and I'm excited to see what they're capable of in Delhi."

"Canada has been very fortunate to qualify a full team of eight men and seven women in weightlifting at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi," declared Paul Barrett, President of the Canadian Weightlifting Federation. "These athletes have worked hard to qualify for this prestigious event, and the expectation is that they will be very competitive in their respective categories. I wish the team every success, and remain confident that five gold medals is a distinct possibility."

The 2010 Canadian weightlifting team is in Turkey from September 17th to 26th to compete at the 2010 World Championships in Antalya. The upcoming London Olympics will be front and centre, as this event is a qualifier for the 2012 Games.

Women's team
Marilou Dozois-Prévost - 53 kilos
Annie Moniqui - 58 kilos
Emily Quarton - 58 kilos
Christine Girard - 69 kilos
Marie-Josée Arès-Pilon - 69 kilos
Katelynn Williams - 69 kilos
Marie-Ève Beauchemin-Nadeau - 75 kilos

Men's team
Jasvir Singh - 62 kilos
Dominic Lussier - 72 kilos
Paul Dumais - 85 kilos
Mathieu Marineau - 85 kilos
Buck Ramsay - 94 kilos
Nicolas Roberts - 94 kilos
George Kobaladze - 123 kilos
Parm Phangura - 137 kilos

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Kingdom of Dreams takes tourism one notch higher

The Kingdom of Dreams, a cultural amusement park on the outskirts of New Delhi that attempts to fuse Broadway and Bollywood, gave reporters a weekend preview of its first production, “Zangoora, the Gypsy Prince,” which opens to the public Tuesday.

The musical started with extravagant dance sequences of popular Bollywood numbers, taking the audiences across Indian cultures starting from Kashmir to the western region of Maharashtra.

The story, written by scriptwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar and set to music composed by well-known Bollywood music directors Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy, was a fairly clichéd tale of a prince who is brought up by a childless gypsy couple after the murder of his parents by an evil general.

Fortunately, as the story became increasingly predictable, with each scene the staging, elaborate costumes and special effects became more and more unpredictable—in a good way.

At one point the dancers flooded the audience area, making heads turn with a surprise entrance from the back into the aisles. That was just the start.

Aerial acrobatics combined with animated stage sets and surround sound created an unusual immersion experience. In one scene, with “mermaids” kept aloft against a backdrop of moving ocean waters, the audience felt like it was underwater too.

The lead actor playing the part of Zangoora made one of his entries flying in over the audience while hanging from a realistic looking eagle.

“The thought behind this concept was a cinematic approach to a live show with virtual backgrounds and a feeling that the stars are walking out of the celluloid,” said Viraf Sarkari, director of Kingdom of Dreams.

But just as dreams in real life are out of reach or are for the rich so is it with the Kingdom of Dreams. The cost of tickets to the show starts at 1,000 rupees (USD $21.87) and goes up to 6,000 rupees (USD $131.28).

When asked about the affordability of the place for most Indians, Mr. Sarkari replied “One production costs us more than a good Bollywood film and if you go for a Broadway show the seats are pretty crammed. Here we are providing luxury with drinks, snacks, comfortable arm chairs,” he said.

The entire production of Zangoora that costs around 250 million rupees (USD$ 5.5 million) and three more productions like it are in the works. One of the upcoming productions focuses on the cultural extravaganza most visitors to India hope to attend.

“The production is called ‘Balle Balle My Big Fat Indian Wedding’ which will be a hardcore Punjabi wedding that will make the audiences feel like ‘Baraatis’ (wedding guests) by making them wear ‘pagdis’ (turbans), etcetera ,” he said.

For foreigners looking to have a Bollywood-style wedding themselves there is good news. The producers also plan a mock-marriage that will take place within an hour-and a-half for foreigners who would like to have an Indian wedding. (Many busy Indians might enjoy such a truncated “shaadi” as well.)

“We will have bookings for these people and we will film it and provide them with DVDs as souvenirs,” says Mr. Sarkari.

But perhaps the biggest production the Kingdom of Dreams is affiliated with is the Commonwealth Games. Composer A.R. Rahman unveiled this theme song here in August and Mr. Sarkari, the brains behind the kingdom, also happens to be the director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games. He wouldn’t share any details.

Commenting on the expansion plans Mr. Sarkari said that he plans to set up a Kingdom of Dreams in Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, Bangkok, New York, London.

Mr. Sarkari eventually wants to replicate the over-the-top cultural hub, practically a mini-city that is also home to state cultural pavilions and scores of restaurants set against a backdrop of buildings modeled on old palaces, in another over-the-top city.

“My ultimate vision is to have a Kingdom of Dreams in Las Vegas,” he said.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

CWG theme song made peppier

Amid criticism that it failed to meet the expectations of the people, the theme song of the Commonwealth Games composed by A R Rahman will be tweaked a bit to make it peppier.

The original version of the song ' India bula liya' was panned by critics and was also criticised by CWG Organising Committee's executive board member V K Malhotra and other leaders for "falling short of expectations".

A Group of Ministers on Commonwealth Games gave the green signal to the theme song after agreeing to certain changes in it.

"The final rendering of theme song by Rahman along with the visuals were shown today and it is being cleared," said Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, after the GoM meeting.

When asked whether there was problem with the earlier version, he said, "We as ministers do not sit on judgments on the work by acknowledged persons. Rahman was requested and he has done his work. Going by authority we approved the work."

About the new version, sports secretary Sindhu Shree Khullar said: "There will be more music, particularly instrumental, in the opening theme song of the Games."

Asked whether the tweaked version will be like Shakira's ' Waka Waka', the World Cup Football song, he said: "Waka Waka was more commercial. Ours will be like Chak de."

'Chak de' is a famous number in the hockey-themed film "Chak De", starring Shah Rukh Khan.

Lyricist Prasoon Joshi said some instrumental music have been added to make the theme song peppier and a video is under preparation.

The video will feature sports personalities like Milkha Singh, K Malleswari and other achievers in the field.

Asked whether Rahman's song had been changed, Joshi said the music composer himself has made it tighter and "you will hear it in the new video.

"Rahman always changes his work till the last minute. He is a good craftsman. The song has now been turned into a sports anthem. It has been pepped up with more beats and it will be a tighter version of the original."

Joshi said the "premature" criticism that came Rahman's way after the song was launched last month is not the reason behind the change.

He indicated that the video will be released in a week.

Among others who attended the GoM were Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar.

Bermuda announces CWG team, to participate in 5 events

Fourteen of the island’s top athletes will fly the flag for Bermuda at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India next month. The Bermuda Olympic Committee just announced the Commonwealth Games Bermuda team this, selecting 11 men and 3 women who will participate in 5 of the 17 sports at the Games.

Bermuda’s Commonwealth Games Chef-de-Mission Stanley Douglas will oversee athletes who will participate in Athletics, Shooting, Squash, Swimming and Tennis.

Olympians Keira Aitken and Roy-Allan Burch are set to compete in Swimming along with Nick Thomson.

Bermuda’s number one male and female tennis players Gavin Manders and Tara Lambert will also take part, along with David Thomas and Jacklyn Lambert.

Central American and Caribbean [CAC]s Games Bronze Medalist Ross Roberts will lead the shooting team, alongside Commonwealth Games veteran Sinclair Raynor, Carl Reid and Nelson Simons.

Central American and Caribbean Games Men’s Long Jump Gold Medal winner Tyrone Smith and sprinter Tre Houston make up the Athletics Team.

Eleven time Bermuda Squash Racquets Association Champion and former number 63rd in the World Rankings Nick Kyme will be Bermuda’s lone competitor in Squash.

Delhi Metro gearing up for Commonwealth Games

Delhi Metro is all set to handle additional rush of commuters during the Commonwealth Games. In an effort to decongest the network and ensure efficient service, it will run trains at an average frequency of 2.5 minutes. The DMRC has also flown in expert teams of engineers from Germany and South Korea to attend to any technical snags during the Games.

DMRC Managing Director E Sreedharan said: “The Games is a matter of national pride and we will ensure smooth services. We are fully geared up to meet the requirements during the event and wish to see that every visitor who comes to Delhi and takes a ride on the Metro goes back with pleasant memories.” Launching a new interactive official website, he added: “We expect heavy pressure on Delhi Metro during the Games as it is an important public transport system in the Capital. We will place all 181 trains of the Metro fleet on the tracks during the event.”

With all the 11 prominent Games venues connected by Metro and a huge rush expected during the event, the entire fleet of 181 trains — 133 broad gauge and 48 standard gauge — will be pressed into service with trains running at an average frequency of 2.5 minutes. At present, the frequency is 3.5 to 4 minutes. Central Secretariat to Badarpur corridor will have the highest frequency as it connects the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue of the opening and closing ceremonies.

In an effort to promptly attend to technical glitches, experts are being flown in specifically for the Games.

“The problems occur either on Over Head Electrification (OHE), or on trains or due to signalling problems. We will deploy special technicians from Germany and Korea across the network,” Sreedharan said. “That apart all stations will have information desks to help commuters and give information related to Metro services and the Games.”

The DMRC, which is in the process of revamping the signalling and OHE systems for the Games, has also launched a campaign to keep the stations clean. The station premises have been given out to the Organising Committee to conduct promotional activities for the Games at no extra cost, Sreedharan said.

Sreedharan said the last two upcoming lines of Phase II — Central Secretariat to Badarpur and Airport Metro Express Line — will meet its Games deadline and will be thrown open to the public by September 30.

Canada announces Commonwealth Games table tennis team

Table Tennis Canada and Commonwealth Games Canada has named the team for the XIXth Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi from October 3-14.

Olympians Pradeeban Peter-Paul and Mo Zhang will guide a young Canadian team. Both are Pan American Games medalists (2007, Rio de Janeiro), have previous Commonwealth Games experience (2006, Melbourne) and have also both recently won the North American Championships.

New National Coach, Yongjun Duan, a quadruple medalist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, will lead the team.

"I really enjoy the amazing athleticism of table tennis and we've got some superb players on this team," said Chef de Mission Martha Deacon. "Table tennis is hugely popular in Asia, so the competition should be phenomenal."

"Our younger athletes will face a steep learning curve at the Games," said Tony Kiesenhofer, Director General of Table Tennis Canada. "However, there are some legitimate medal chances in the women's singles, where Mo Zhang will need to fend off strong opposition from the World Champions from Singapore and from host India. In women's doubles, Mo Zhang and Sara Yuen have consistently performed well in the Commonwealth arena. The men are in a position to challenge for a medal in the Team event."

Athletes named by Table Tennis Canada to Team Canada for the 2010 Commonwealth Games were selected after the Canadian Championships in Calgary, July 16-18, the last leg of a multi-competition selection process.

Pradeeban Peter-Paul (Ottawa, ON), Pierre-Luc Hinse (Gatineau, QC), Xavier Therien (Gatineau, QC), Andre Ho (Richmond, BC)

Mo Zhang (Ottawa, ON), Sara Yuen (Ottawa, ON), Carmen Lee (Vancouver, BC),
Anqi Luo (Mississauga, ON)

Coaches: Junya Chen (Mississauga, ON), Yongjun Duan (Ottawa, ON)

All selected athletes will compete in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events. The pairs competing in doubles, as well as the three athletes selected to compete in the team event, will be decided at a later date.

Pierre-Luc Thiriault and Marie-Andrie Livesque have been named as alternates.

DU students can stay in hostels till Sep end: UGC

Delhi University (DU) students can prolong their stay in hostels till September end, according to University Grants Commission (UGC). Students are asked to vacate the hostels two or three days before the end of September. Earlier, the plan was that the students had to vacate the room on Wednesday i.e. on September 15, 2010, in order to accommodate the guests during Commonwealth Games.

The plan has been changed as the guests of 2010 Commonwealth Games are expected to arrive by October 1. The games will be commencing from October 3, 2010 till October 14, 2010. The university will remain closed during this period.

DU affiliated various colleges had gone through renovation work in order to make them ready to serve the guests during the Commonwealth Games. Thereafter, several colleges had not allowed their students to join back the hostels after their vacations had ended.

As per sources, the UGC and the organizing committee of the Commonwealth Games had faced criticism for their decision of accommodating the guests in DU hostels.

Ananya is youngest athlete to represent India in CWG

Pune based swimmer Ananya Panigrahi was named as part of Indian swimming team for Commonwealth Games 2010. She is India's youngest participant in next month's games.

Ananya won the National championship in the 100m and 200m backstroke in Jaipur recently and her selection was more of a formality. According to the SAI coach Tapan Kumar, her timing of 2:28.29 in the 200m backstroke was the best by an Indian swimmer in last six years.

"The officials of Indian swimming federation and Maharashtra swimming association got in touch with us and confirmed her selection in the Indian team," her father-cum-coach Tapankumar told TOI on Tuesday. "It was her 14th birthday on Sept 15. The news could not have come at a more appropriate time."

She had won the National Sub-junior title in Kolkata (2008), National junior in Jaipur (2009) besides being the runner-up in the senior section the same year. Her best timing in the 100m backstroke is around 1:10.

"She was born in Banaras but we are settled in Pune for many years due to my posting here," said her proud father. "She is a student of Vidyanchal School in Aundh." The coach-father claimed that they are on the right path for glory at the 2012 Olympic Games. "Our big goal is that. And we are on course."

Rwanda announces Common Wealth Games squad

Rwanda's Olympic Committee (RNOC) has named a 22 member team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

The team, which is taking part in the Games for the very first time, consists of 15 track and field athletes, five cyclists, one swimmer and one boxer.

Athletes hoping to make Rwanda's presence felt on the track include Dieudonne Disi, Rashid Safari, Gervais Nizeyimana and two-time Olympian Epiphanie Nyirabarame in full marathon (42.125km), Gervais Hakizimana in steeple-chase (3000m) and the trio of Jean Baptista Simuceka, Eric Sebahire and Sylvain Rukundo in 5000m and 10,000m races. Jean Claude Ndayisenga and Herman Muvunyi will compete in T46 races.

South Africa-based rider Adrien Niyonshuti will lead Rwanda's surge for honours. Others in the cycling team include four-time Tour of Rwanda champion Abraham Ruhumuriza, Nathan Byukusenge, Nicodem Habiyambere and Hategeka Gasore.

The cyclists will compete in the 167km road race and 40km individual time-trial race among others. Matusi Haziza, who is fresh from last month's Singapore Youth Games, will fly Rwanda's flag in boxing while Alphonsine Agahozo hopes to do Rwanda proud when she competes in the 50m freestyle.

According to RNOC's Executive Director Thierry Ntwali, the team entered residential training yesterday at Hill Top hotel.

The Games will run from October 3-14.

Commonwealth Games team:

Cycling: Nathan Byukusenge, Nicodem Habiyambere, Hategeka Gasore, Abraham Ruhumuriza and Adrien Niyonshuti

Para-sport: Jean Claude Ndayisenga (100m) and Herman Muvunyi (100m).

Athletics: Dieudonne Disi (Marathon), Gervais Hakizimana (3000m steeplechase), Saidi Hamisi Ndayisaba (100m & 200m), Sylvain Rukundo (5000m & 10000m), Eric Sebahire (5000m & 10000m), Jean Baptista Simuceka (5000m & 10000m), Gervais Nizeyimana (Marathon), Joseph Nzirorera (1500m), Rashid Safari (Marathon), Epiphanie Nyirabarame (Marathon), Claudette Mukasakindi (10000m), Jacqueline Murekatete (5000m) and Jean d'Arc Mukakigeri (5000m)

Swimming : Alphonsine Agahozo (50m Freestyle)

Boxing : Matusi Haziza (light weight)

Coaches : Jonathan Boyer, Emmanuel Murenzi, Innocent Rwabuhihi, Charles Tuyisenge and Gashugi Kananura.

Medics: Bulanga Umulisa Assumpta, Jean Damascene Gasherubuka and Emmanuel Nsengiyumva.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Commonwealth Games delegates to start arriving today

As the first batch of delegates for the Commonwealth Games are expected to arrive in the Capital on Wednesday, the Multi Agency Coordination Centre (MACC) has started functioning at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).

According to airport sources, MACC will have representatives from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Delhi Police, Organising Committee, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) and various ministries. The members of MACC will have the list of delegates and athletes and their schedule.

“We have already got the list of delegates arriving at the T3 and the list will be updated on a daily basis. Those who are arriving will be escorted by the CISF and Delhi Police. They will be then handed over to the security agency who will take them to their respective destinations,” an airport source said.

He added, “We have expected the movement of over 15,000 delegates and athletes but the numbers have come down to about 14,000. Currently, we have the list of 4,000 delegates from different countries but the list will be updated on daily basis.”
The embassy official concerned will also be a part of the MACC and a protocol will be followed to escort the delegates and athletes.

A flood of Games participants from over 70 countries will come. But additional tourist traffic from less than half of those countries is expected. “They will be put in exempted category and most of them are coming from chartered flights,” the source said.

Commonwealth Games merchandise sales catching up

The long wait to have one’s share for the Commonwealth Games’ merchandise has finally come to an end. Premier Brands, the licensee for the CWG 2010 merchandise which initially pulled out from the association is back in action after differences about business plan were sorted out with Commonwealth Games organizing committee.

We now have an array of products (29 types) which are up for sale across Delhi. The merchandise will also be available at all the competition venues and Games village as well as at the high footfall areas in the capital that includes international and domestic airport terminals, metro stations, selected railway stations and retail outlets.

The official Games merchandise is available at the store set up at the OC headquarters and includes branded sportswear like T-shirts, jackets, casual wear, kid’s apparels, generic items like umbrellas, key-chains, and mugs among others. The product prices range from Rs 25-300 and no product has been priced more than Rs 300 in the first phase of the merchandise launch.

The second phase of sale is set to witness 5-6 new stores being set up in the next few days across Delhi/NCR and over 60 stores at all the Game venues for the sale of merchandise.

Interestingly, its vuvuzelas that have been hot favourite of Delhiites amongst all the merchandise. The instrument came into limelight during Football world cup earlier this year. However, it was later banned at some of subsequent sporting events under complaint from participants. It will be interesting to see athletes' reaction regarding Vuvuzelas in action during Commonwealth Games

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Delhi getting decked up for Commonwealth Games

Delhi is getting all dolled up for the Commonwealth Games and its doing so in style. From ornamental street furniture to fancy signages, civic agencies are pulling out all stops to make the Capital look uber-attractive. Elaborate decorative signages, bill boards and street art have sprouted throughout the city, ensuring visitors get a feel world-class cities such as Hong Kong and Sydney when they come calling during the Games.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Public Works Department (PWD) are installing street furniture on a number of roads. The beautification project will be completed by September 25.

Right from information kiosks, luxury toilet complexes, modern street art, vending kiosks, aesthetically appealing foot over-bridges, and trendy streetlights have been put up across the city.

“Street furniture has revolutionized the style and look of cities all over the world. The Games gave us a perfect opportunity to come up with a similar project in Delhi too. This will give a swanky look to the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” said Deep Mathur, director, press and information, the MCD.

Most of the street furniture is being installed on the roads leading to the Commonwealth Games venues and stadiums.

To ensure people do not damage the street furniture, the civic agency has used material which is scratch-free.
“The material of all the street furniture being installed for the Games has been carefully selected to ensure that no one can leave scratches on it. Also, the surface has been made in such a manner that people will not be able to stick pamphlets or posters on it,” said a senior MCD official.

The MCD has said while the street furniture being installed in the Capital is of international standards, it
has been specially adapted to suit Indian taste.

The street furniture being installed also includes signages and kiosks that will help tourists get information about the Capital.

“We have set up a number of kiosks on several roads leading to the Games venues. These air-conditioned kiosks will have lists of hotels and restaurants in Delhi, Yellow Pages, geographical and road maps of Delhi, airlines
information, and bus, Metro and rail information which will help the people coming to Delhi for the Games,” added the official.

Ghana confirms participation in Commonwealth Games

Ghana will participate in six disciplines at the Commonwealth Games slated for October 4-13 in India. After a delay of more than a week in confirming participation, the sports association of Ghana informed Commonwealth Games organizing Committee regarding their plans for the games.

The 19th edition of the quadrennial games will see Ghanaian athletes vying for honours in Athletics, Paralympics, Weightlifting, Table Tennis, Badminton and Boxing.

Francis Adjetey Sowah, Chairman of the Association for Sports of the Disabled (ASFOD) told a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday that Ghana will compete in those disciplines.

He said the various teams have been preparing feverishly for the 10-day event to be staged in Delhi, India and was confident that they would make an impact.

In all, athletes will compete in 260 events in 17 disciplines at the Games.

The Commonwealth Games is a multinational, multi-sport event which features competitions involving thousands of elite athletes from members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Integrating athletes movement schedule with traffic management

Delhi traffic police Monday received a tentative schedule for the movement of Commonwealth Games athletes from their rooms to 26 practice venues.

"We have received a tentative schedule and traffic arrangements will be done according to it" said Special Commissioner (Traffic) Ajay Chadha. The athletes are expected to arrive between Sep 20 and 23. Around 7,000 players and delegates are expected to arrive for the Oct 3-14 Games.

According to police, the traffic plan to ferry athletes from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to their hotel rooms has already been discussed.

"There would be restrictions on the Games lanes even during night hours from Sep 20-23. It is mainly due to the majority of international flights arriving here at night", said Chadha.

Officials from various participating countries will start reaching the capital this week. The schedule pertaining to the arrival of the athletes and the Games officials were handed to the police much earlier.

The main cause of worry for the traffic police was about the schedule of the athletes and number of vehicles involved in their transportation to different venues for training purposes. But with the schedule now, the traffic police are engaged in preparing a detailed plan for their movement.

'The schedule was needed to see where and when the athletes would be going for the training sessions and and how many buses would be required to ferry them,' added Chadha.

There are 26 practice venues for different games which include Yamuna Sports Complex, Major Dhyan Chand National stadium, Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, Delhi University, Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range CRPF Campus, Kadarpur, Siri Fort Sports Complex and R.K. Khanna Sports Complex.

Police have already started trials on the Games lanes to gauge the impact on the general traffic during the event. A slew of guidelines have been issued for motorists asking them to avoid the Games lanes failing which they would be fined Rs.2,000.

Police have also asked motorists to make way for emergency vehicles like ambulances, police vans and fire brigades so these can reach venues in an emergency situation during the Commonwealth Games. If motorists fail to abide, they can be fined Rs.100.

The dedicated lanes will be used to ferry more than 15,000 people during the Games, besides thousands of OC staff and volunteers. The OC has divided these transport services into groups. The first group, T1, consists of a dedicated service of around 485 cars with drivers, which will transport delegates from their accommodation to venues and back.

T2 will be a motor pool of 1,000 cars available through a call car service while T3 will consist of 349 dedicated AC buses for the athletes. The shuttle service will be provided for individual sports as well as exclusive team buses for team sports.

Twenty-five routes have been identified for transporting the athletes. A separate bus service will be provided for the media and technical officials. The transport services will be available from Sep 23.

Monday, 13 September 2010

NSG commandos to secure Commonwealth Games village

Racing to put in place a security system at the Games Village, the government has decided that 20 elite NSG commandos will be deployed three days before the arrival of athletes on September 23.

NSG commandos are taking part in drills that will prepare them to handle any critical situation. The positions to be held by these commandos during emergency have been finalized. They will be divided into static and mobile.

They will stationed at a crisis-intervention centre set up inside the Village. The commandos have been provided with lay-out maps of the Village and JLN Stadium to counter hostage-like situations. The commandos will work in three shifts for eight hours a day. The Village will have a soft launch on September 16 and 10 NSG commandos are likely to be deployed on that day. Full deployment will be made by September 20, said officials.

The NSG has also set up an exclusive "high frequency" signals centre to secure the sporting event. The centre will maintain communication between the personnel deployed, the force headquarters and the NSG garrison in Manesar. Other than the Village, the NSG commandos will also be deployed at JLN Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies. They, along with Delhi Police, will also sanitize the route to be taken by players.

In the wake of recent reports of air strikes by terrorists, the NSG has procured para motor gliding equipment.

Commonwealth Games village kitchen gets operational

Three thousand and five hundred meals were cooked and served on Monday at the Commonwealth Games Village as the kitchen began functioning.

The organising committee (OC) is trying to get it fully operational for the 700 delegates from the participating nations who are expected to arrive on September 16 when the Village opens. While the menu was a simple vegetarian fare on the first day, the number of dishes is slated to go up as the Games take off.

Said a senior OC official, "The menu was vegetables, dal, chawal and parantha." The food, which was served to the OC staff and the contract workers in the kitchen, will be ramped up in the next few days, with desserts and more dishes being added. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be cooked everyday from now on for the OC staff and workers, with the kitchen churning out around 5,500 meals per day for the staff during the peak Games time.

Sources in OC said the kitchen and dining area is being given finishing touches like installing of coffee dispensers and drink vending machines (Coca Cola is the official Commonwealth Games sponsor). The kitchen, spread over 3,000 sqm, has been operational for around a week now, and is expected to reach a peak level of 30,000 meals daily from October 3. The workforce dining area, which is separate from the athletes section, will be open mainly for the OC staff.

The security personnel will also be served food from September 15 when Delhi Police takes over the venue. These personnel will be catered to by Agarwal Foods, the caterers for the workforce.

Fairy Queen planning special trips for Commonwealth Games

Gearing up for the Commonwealth Games, Railways are planning special trips of the Fairy Queen, the tourist train run by the oldest working engine in the world, during the mega event in October.

"We are planning special trips of Fairy Queen on October 9 and 10," a senior Northern Railway official said today.

Besides Fairy Queen, Railways are also planning to run special chartered trains to Agra and Jaipur for tourists during the Games. It is estimated that a good number of tourists including foreigners will come here during the October 3-14 mega sporting event. Fairy Queen, the prestigious tourist train hauled by the 150-year old steam engine, meanwhile, is scheduled to recommence its journey from October 23.

In order to facilitate foreign tourists, the International Tourist Bureau located at New Delhi Railway Station is being renovated to give it a new look and provide better aesthetics and facilities for tourists.

The foreign tourist quota has been increased and is being provided in all classes and in some of the important trains during the Games period.
Foreign tourists can also obtain Indrail Pass apart from reserved tickets in Indian rupees against encashment certificate and can travel whenever and in whichever train he or she likes within the validity period of the pass.

Two more counters will be added at the ITB and working hours will also be extended with the deployment of more staff during the Games, said the official. Apart from running special tourist trains, Indian Railway, the lead partner of Commonwealth Games, has undertaken a massive exercise of renovating New Delhi station, Nizamuddin station and Old Delhi station.

Monday's traffic lane trial cancelled due to rains

People in Delhi heaved a sigh of relief after the traffic police decided to cancel Monday's peak-hour trial runs on the dedicated Commonwealth Games lanes due to heavy rains.

"It has been cancelled due to heavy rains since morning. We did not want to add to the miseries of the commuters by going on with the trial. The trial for Tuesday still stands now," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg.

However, the trials for Tuesday are still on, officials said.

A traffic police advisory on Sunday said the trials will be held between 4 pm and 6 pm on Monday and 8 am to 10 am on Tuesday.

The trials were to be conducted on Ring Road from Chandgi Ram Akhara to Mall Road, NH-24-Ring Road crossing to Gazipur crossing, Ma Anandmayee Marg in Kalkaji to Doctor Karni Singh Stadium at Surajkund Road via Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, and Panchsheel Marg-Sardar Patel Road intersection to Mother Teresa Crescent up to RML Hospital.

The trials were to be conducted during peak hours to gauge the impact. The exclusive road lanes for the vehicles of Games athletes and officials will become out of bounds for all other road users from September 20.

Those who stray onto these lanes will be penalised Rs.2,000 and their vehicles will be impounded. Initially, the restrictions on the Games lanes will be operational during night time only, as international flights carrying athletes are scheduled to reach the national Capital during these hours.

The public has been advised to avoid, as far as possible, the Games lanes in general.

They have been advised to avoid Safdurjung Road, Kamal Ataturk Marg, Panchsheel Marg, Sardar Patel Marg, Siri Fort Road, Harsukh Marg, Purana Qila Road and Mother Teresa Crescent Road in particular as these roads have only two lanes in one carriageway and one lane has already been reserved for Games-related traffic, the statement said.

Security drill at IGI T3

With the airport gearing up to receive the Commonwealth Games visitors and athletes after a week, Delhi Police and other concerned agencies carried out a security drill at the new terminal to assess the preparedness of agencies that have been posted there.

According to DCP O P Mishra, the drill that had been organized by Delhi Police was a huge success. "The drill was carried out in light of the Commonwealth Games. About two or three simulated exercises were carried out to assess the response time and preparedness of the various agencies. The drill involved the fire department, DIAL, CISF, the bomb disposal squad and other related agencies. No inconvenience was caused to passengers,'' he said.

The exercise was undertaken outside the arrival terminal at the new T3. The drill went on between 12.30pm and 2pm and involved scenarios like a blast near the terminal and the discovery of any suspicious object at the boarding point. "A few possible security related scenarios were enacted. In one case, we saw how security agencies would act if one found a suspicious object at the boarding point where athletes would be boarding buses. The possibility of a blast was also scrutinized,'' added Mishra.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Delhi to conduct traffic trials during peak hours

Delhi's traffic police will conduct trials on road lanes reserved for ferrying the Commonwealth Games athletes and officials during the morning and evening rush hour over the next two days, a statement said Sunday.

A traffic police advisory said the trials will be held between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Tuesday.

'The trials will be conducted on Ring Road from Chandgi Ram Akhara to Mall Road, NH-24-Ring Road crossing to Gazipur crossing on NH-24, Ma Anand Mai Marg in Kalkaji to Doctor Karni Singh Stadium at Surajkund Road via MB Road and Panchsheel Marg-Sardar Patel Road intersection to Mother Teresa Crescent upto RML Hospital,' said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

He said the trials will be conducted during peak hours to gauge the impact. The trials were held between 12 noon and 2 p.m. last week.

The exclusive road lanes for the Games athletes and officials will become out of bounds for all other road users from Sep 20.

Those who stray onto these lanes will be penalised Rs.2,000 and their vehicles will be impounded. Initially, the restrictions on the Games lanes will be operational during night time only as international flights carrying athletes are scheduled to reach the capital during these hours.

The public has been advised to avoid, as far as possible, the Games lanes in general.

They have been advised to avoid Safdurjung Road, Kamal Ataturk Marg, Panchsheel Marg, Sardar Patel Marg, Siri Fort Road, Harsukh Marg, Purana Qila Road and Mother Teresa Crescent Road in particular as these roads have only two lanes in one carriageway and one lane has already been reserved for Games-related traffic, the statement said.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

24X7 tourist helpline launched

As the city prepares to host the Commonwealth Games, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today launched a new 24-hour helpline and a tourism website providing a range of services to the tourists.

"This makes it vital for it to have a robust tourist guidance system in place,” Dikshit said after launching the facility here.

She said the online and phone facilities will reach out to the tourists in the country and abroad making Delhi-related information and services more accessible.

On the official website, visitors will have access to a wide variety of services and information. Even before tourists set out for Delhi, they can download thematic city maps, information brochures and informative videos to plan their trip better.

Information such as type of hotel, booking services, Bed and Breakfast establishments, guesthouses, transport and flight services, currency converter and weather updates besides detailed information on city’s heritage, must-see attractions and eateries will be available at the click of mouse.

“What’s more one can “now dial ‘1280’ from any phone and get answers to questions related to Delhi tourism,” a senior Delhi Government official said.

Canadian Rugby 7s squad for Commonwealth Games

Rugby Canada on Thursday announced the team that will represent Canada at next month's Commonwealth Games in rugby sevens — a sport that was recently added to the Olympic program.

Canadian head coach Geraint John said he expects Canada to show well in a field full of international powers.

"Six of the seven players who started for us in the final at the Hong Kong [Sevens World Series] tournament in March will be with us in Delhi. We won that final over Wales and we'll be carrying that momentum into the Commonwealth Games next month."

Designed to be faster-paced than the traditional version of the sport, rugby sevens features seven players on the field for each team instead of 15.

The smaller team sizes make it easier for more countries to compete with traditional rugby powers — a factor in the International Olympic Committee's decision to add the sport to the program for the 2016 Games in Rio.

Rugby sevens matches are also much shorter in duration, with halves lasting seven minutes instead of 40.

That means an entire tournament can be played over a weekend — the Commonwealth competition will be decided over just two days, Oct. 11 and 12, in New Delhi, India. The amount of scoring remains comparable to a full rugby match because there's more room for players to manoeuvre.

Canada has a men's and women's sevens team, but the Commwealth Games program includes only a men's competition.

As the lone representative from North and Central America and the Caribbean, Canada drew a tough group that includes three-time reigning champion New Zealand, as well as Scotland and Guyana.

South Africa heads Pool B, which also includes Wales, Tonga and host India. Samoa tops Pool C, joined by Kenya, Uganda and Papua New Guinea. Pool D features England, Australia, Namibia and Sri Lanka.

The Canadian team features several experienced veterans — led by captain Phil Mack of Victoria, Canada's top points scorer in the Sevens World Series this season with 125.

First-year man Thyssen de Goede, also from Victoria, impressed with four tries at the Hong Kong tournament.

The full Canadian roster for the Commonwealth Games is as follows:

Nanyak Dala (Saskatoon), Thyssen de Goede (Victoria), Sean Duke (Vancouver), Ciaran Hearn (Conception Bay, N.L.), Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, B.C.),  Phil Mack (Victoria), Ian Shoults (Calgary), Neil Meechan (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Justin Mensah-Coker (Vancouver), John Moonlight (Pickering, Ont.), Taylor Paris (Barrie, Ont.), Conor Trainor (Vancouver).
Related Posts with Thumbnails we are in

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

Blog Directory Blog Directory

Follow this site

Link exchange | Internet Marketing