Monday, 11 October 2010

Oludamola tested positive for banned substance

Nigeria's Oludamola Osayomi, who got the gold medal in the women's 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games here on October 7, has tested positive for a banned stimulant.

The Nigerian sprinter, who initially finished second in the 100 but was awarded the gold when Australia's Sally Pearson was disqualified for a false start, tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylexanemine, Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell said Monday.

"Any positive test, whether it is in a high-profile event or not, is something that is very much regretted for a clean games, clean sport and a clean competition," Fennell said, adding that no decision had been made on the medals. "One doesn't know what kind of damage will occur as the result of this test but we just want to let everyone know that we are very vigilant and the testing and laboratory analysis is of the highest standards."

Fennell said Oludamola has been notified of the adverse finding and has requested the testing of her "B" sample.

"This is something we just have to work with and make sure that we do our part in monitoring and eliminating doping in sport," Fennell said.

Elias Gora, the Nigerian team's chef de mission, said he had not yet been informed of the positive test.

"But if the allegations are true it's most unfortunate for us," Gora told The Associated Press. "I'm disappointed and I'm sure people back home will also be disappointed, too."

Gora also said that all Nigerian athletes were given tests prior to the games except those that were in the United States or Europe.

"Since Oludamola was in the U.S. she didn't go through the process," Gora said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently loosened the classification of Methylexanemine for next year to the "specified stimulant" list, which covers drugs that are more susceptible to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties. Sanctions for use of the drug can be reduced if athletes can prove they did not intend to enhance performance. Penalties can range from a warning to a two-year ban.

WADA said Methylexanemine was sold as a medicine until the early 1970s and has now reappeared in some nutritional supplements and cooking oils.

About a dozen Indian athletes who were to compete at the Commonwealth Games tested positive for the drug in recent months.

They were suspended by the national anti-doping agency, but that was revoked after WADA reclassified the drug. However, not all the athletes have been cleared for participation. The next date for their hearing is Oct. 21.

Fennell said Oludamola's result was the first positive test of the games.

"We have conducted over 900 tests to date and we've had results from just over 700," Fennell said. "But unfortunately I have to record and report to you that we've had a positive result."

Pearson originally crossed first in the 100 final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in 11.28 seconds. But hours after celebrating her victory, the Australian sprinter — an Olympic hurdles silver medalist — was disqualified for the false start.

Oludamola was then given the gold medal, and Natasha Mayers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was moved up to silver.

If Oludamola is stripped of the medal, then Mayers would stand to claim the gold. Katherine Endacott of England, who crossed fourth in the race but received the bronze medal after the disqualification, would then be moved up to silver and Bertille Delphine Atangana of Cameroon would get bronze.

Oludamola also ran in the semifinals of the 200 on Sunday, but failed to advance after finishing fourth in her heat with a time of 23.95 seconds.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

India wins 5 Golds, gets back to second position

With 29 Gold, 22 Silver, and 22 Bronze medals till late Sunday evening, India held on to its second position on the seventh day of the ongoing XIX Commonwealth Games here.

The last Gold medal of the total five won today, came through Tennis, as India's Somdev Devvarman defeated Australia's Greg John in straight sets in the final match of Men's singles with the scoreboard reading 6-4,6-2.

In another crucial match, Indian hockey team cruised into the second Semi Final on Sunday evening, as it registered a convincing win over arch rival Pakistan beating it with 7-4 score in the Quarter Final match.

India will play against England in the second semi-final match of Men's hockey competition on Monday.

In a do or die pool match against Pakistan, India defeated them this evening decisively in every sphere of the game. eanwhile, earlier in the day, it was the turn of the Indian Archers, wrestlers and shooters to make a splash.

Archers won two gold medals helping the hosts to maintain the second position in the overall Medals tally.

In free style wrestling, world champion Sushil kumar grabbed the gold in 66 kilogram category outwitting his opponent Heinrich Barnes of South Africa.

With 29 gold medals in kitty, India are just 1 short of their best-ever performance in the Commonwealth games, which happened in Manchester 8 years ago.

The sterling performance of the athletes in the current 19th edition of the games has seen India bettering their 2006 Melbourne games record which had a haul of 22 gold.

Australia continues to dominate the Games, with 60 gold and England are in the third position with 25 gold medals.

The first gold of the day for India came when Indian Woman archer Deepika Kumari won the recurve category. Deepika defeated England's Elison Williamson in the final.

A victorious Deepika said she had put in her best to grab the gold. Dola Banerjee won a bronze in the same event.

After Deepika's win, it was Rahul Banerjee's turn to win the gold in the men's recurve event. Rahul defeated Canada's Jason Lyson. The bronze in the event went to India's Jayanta Talukdar.

Harpreet Singh gave India another gold in the Men's 25 metres Centrefire pistol shooting. He said despite stiff competition, he managed to wrest the gold. Vijay Kumar added a silver in the same event.

In trapshooting, Manavjeet singh Sandhu bagged a bronze.

In freestyle wrestling, India's Anuj Kumar managed to get a silver medal after losing to Pakistan's Mohammed Inam in the 84 kilogram category. Anil kumar grabbed the bronze in the 55 kg wrestling. The gold went to Azhar Hussain of Pakistan and it was the first gold for them. Joginder Kumar has also won a silver in the super heavy weight category of wrestling.

In Boxing, Jai Bhagwan and Dilbagh Singh have entered the semifinals, while 2006 games gold medalist Akhil kumar suffered a shock defeat.

In women's 112 kilometres Cycling race, the gold and silver went to Australia while New Zealand bagged the bronze.

In the discus throw event, Vikas Gowda bagged a Silver medal.

Australia tops the medal tally with 132 medals; 61 Gold, 36 Silver and 35 Bronze, India is on second position with its 73 medals; 29 Gold, 22 Silver and 22 Bronze medals and England remains on third position with 100 medals; 25 gold 45 silver and 30 bronze medals.

India beat Pakistan 7-4, to meet England in semifinal

India crushed Pakistan 7-4 to storm into the semifinals of the men's hockey competition at the 19th Commonwealth Games here Sunday.

India finished second behind Australia in Pool A with nine points and take on Pool B toppers England in the semifinal here Tuesday. Australia face New Zealand in the other semifinal.

Earlier, Australia romped to their fourth win by soundly thrashing Malaysia 7-0 while England overcame South Africa 2-1 and Canada came within two minutes of making the semi-final grade, but eventually drew 1-1 with New Zealand.

Indeed, India put on a dazzling display befitting royalty and in the presence of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as they ran circles around Pakistan, who were done in by the aggression, slick passing and clinical finish of the home team.

Penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh started the Indian party with two conversions first up (2nd, 11th), followed by Shivendra Singh (19th and 59th), Saravanjit Singh (20th), Dhanish Mujataba (40th) and Dharamvir Singh (46th).

On their part, Pakistan showed only flashes of brilliance and their famed fighting spirit to knock in two goals by Muhammad Imran (27th) and Mumahmmad Rizwan (30th) in a space of three minutes. Irfan Muhammad (57th) and Shakeel Abbasi (67th) were the other scorers.

India could not have hoped for a better start than five penalty corners within 11 minutes and Sandeep converted the first and fifth.

The Pakistan defence was at sixes and sevens in the face of the furious Indian onslaughts as virtually every penetration by the home forwards resulted in a penalty corner.

Past the 19th, Sandeep unleashed a brilliant left-to-right diagonal long shot that Shivendra, positioned behind the Pakistani defenders flicked home to put India 3-0 in the lead.

A minute later, Sarvanjit was lying handy to push home a poor clearance from the sixth penalty corner and the packed stands went into frenzied celebrations.

Thus, a 4-0 lead in just 20 minutes was simply unbelievable, but it accurately reflected India's dominance that left the Pakistanis all but shell-shocked.

But not for long as Pakistan earned their second penalty corner in the 26th minute and Rehan Butt's rebound attempt struck Vikram Pillay on the foot leading to a penalty stroke that Imran converted and Pakistan were in the hunt.

Three minutes later Rizwan got a deflection to Irfan's cross hit from the right as Pakistan reduced the leeway.

In the final minute of the half, India received two back-to-back penalty corners, their seventh and eighth, but could not convert. Pakistan protested both the awards while the Indians claimed a penalty stroke off the second, but their pleas were rejected.

Pakistan began the second-half far more confidently and a couple of chances came their way, but were wasted.

It was not long before India got going and Mujtaba banged home a penalty corner rebound in the 40th and Dharamvir pushed home a Shivendra pass and India were up 6-2.

Pakistan pulled one back when Irfan flicked into net from a penalty corner, but India hit back with a stunning counter-attack that saw captain Rajpal Singh finding Shivendra with a through ball and the striker made no mistake with a powerful drive to goal.

With a four-goal cushion, India relaxed just a bit and it allowed Abbasi to streak in from the right and flick past goalkeeper Bharat Chhetri for the final goal of the night.

Somdev wins first Gold for India in tennis

Somdev Devvarman ended India's week-long wait for a gold in tennis by outclassing Australia's Greg Jones 6-4, 6-2 in the men's singles competition of the Commonwealth Games before a deafening home crowd here Sunday.

The 25-year-old Indian also became the first player to win the men's singles gold in Commonwealth Games tennis, which made its debut in this edition. Australia's Matt Ebden won the bronze.

The US-based Somdev went sprawling on the ground after Jones' forehand sailed through on the match point and a packed stadium rose to give him a standing ovation. Cries of 'Somdev' reverberated in the air. The young Indian thanked the adulating crowd by bowing round the court with a namaste during the prize distribution ceremony.

The stakes were high for Somdev and he did it is style after India's gold medal hopes were quashed in the men's doubles with the loss of leading lights Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the semifinal, who had to settle for a bronze.

Sania Mirza, despite putting up a brave fight, could not stop Australia's Anastasia Rodionova from clinching the gold in the women's singles. Later Sania, partnering Rushmi Chakravarthi claimed the women's doubles bronze with a 6-4, 6-2 win over compatriots Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree Venkatesha here Sunday.

Somdev did not disaapoint the tennis fans.

'I took my chances. I am happy to win a gold for my country. It is a great honour for me to represent my country in international events. I will be happy to do it again,' Somdev said.

'People underestimate how tough it is to get a gold medal. I worked really hard this week. It is one of the best things in my career for sure, to win a gold medal in front of this kind of crowd.'

Jones, 21, was gracious in defeat. 'Somdev is a good player. He serves well. The accumulated pressure didn't let me play well. I don't think I was really that comfortable out there,' he said.

The 97th-ranked Indian made a quiet start and cleverly kept the ball in play as the towering Australian, ranked 234, went for ambitious hitting in trying to be aggressive. The Indian also muffled Jones' strategy to bring him to the net with some delectable passing shots as he dictated from the baseline.

After failing to convert three break points in the fifth game and saving one on his serve immediately, the 25-year-old Indian effected the decisive break in the seventh game. A whipping backhand pass set up the breakpoint and an erratic forehand crosscourt from Jones gifted the break to the Indian, who then served out the set with an easy put away to a deafening roar from the stands.

Jones after stretching for a forehand volley at 15-30 in the first game of the second set felt some discomfort in his knee and called for a trainer. He was soon back only to meet a belligerent Indian, who gave away nothing, and the Australian could do little but go through the motions.

However, serving for the match at 5-0, the nerves got the better of Somdev, and he dropped it.

'When you are serving a match out for your country it is not the easiest thing to do. I got a little bit nervous but I think I did well to hold back and hold serve at 5-2,' he said.

He served out the set in his next service game when Jones smacked a forehand long, exulting amidst a wildly cheering crowd.

Delhi Metro keeps up with Commonwealth Games rush

Notwithstanding the Commonwealth Games rush, Delhi Metro maintained a record punctuality of 99.88 per cent during the first week of the sporting extravaganza making over 2800 trips daily.

Delhi Metro, which provides connectivity to almost all the 11 stadia that host the Games, is running trains at an average frequency of 2.5 minutes starting October 3, when the Commonwealth Games began in the capital.

Though there were delays due to technical glitches during the past one week, Metro trains registered punctuality of 99.98 per cent during the week beginning October 3 and ending October 9.

This means out of the 19656 trips the 180-odd Metro trains made during the past week, only 24 trips were affected, a DMRC spokesman said.

The DMRC usually registers a punctuality rate of over 99 per cent. The organisation regularly conducts punctuality audits every three months.

During the past one week, Metro trains made 2808 trips everyday traversing 58,000 kms, the spokesman said.

The DMRC had also deployed technical experts from South Korea and Germany to ensure that no technical glitch takes place during the Games.

The engineers are stationed at important stations, particularly on the Badarpur line which provides connectivity to the main Games venue of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Metro also registered additional ridership during the past one week as majority of the people going to stadia opted for the new age transport system to reach the venues.

People, who had bought CWG tickets, can take a free ride on the Metro.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Commonwealth Games medals tally: Day 2


Click here to see Day 1 medals tally.

2nd Gold for Canada in Commonwealth Games

Weightlifter Marilou Dozois-Prevost of Montreal outduelled Onyeka Azike of Nigeria on Tuesday to win Canada's second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games in the women's 53-kilogram weight class.

Dozois-Prevost lifted 82 kilograms in the snatch portion of the competition and 100 kilograms in the clean-and-jerk, to narrowly defeat the Nigerian in what was a two-woman competition for the top two podium spots.

The 24-year-old student at Universite du Quebec a Montreal won silver in the same competition at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and was 10th in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Canada also won a bronze medal on Tuesday in artistic gymnastics, taking third place in the women's team event.

The five-member team picked up 154.75 points, which was just behind Australia (163.7) and England (158.2).

"It's very cool to win a medal. It's awesome. I'm so happy with bronze," said team member Catherine Dion of Gatineau, Que.

"Everyone's taking pictures. Everyone wants to talk to us. I'm so proud of the team."

The other members of the Canadian team were Kristin Klarenback of Edmonton, Cynthia Lemieux-Guillemette of Greenfield Park, Que., and Emma Willis of Sarnia, Ont., who competed in all four events, and Gabby May of Winnipeg, who performed in the vault, bars and floor.

India picks up 3 Golds in wrestling

Indian wrestlers on Tuesday produced a clinical display on the mat and made a clean sweep in the men's Greco-Roman style with Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar clinching gold in their respective categories at the Commonwealth Games.

Young Ravinder started the gold rush for India, bagging the first yellow metal in wrestling in the 60kg category, beating England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in front of the sparse but cheering crowd at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

Sanjay followed his compatriot's footsteps and got the better of South Africa's Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74kg category.

And then Anil made it three out of three for host country when he defeated Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the summit clash of the 96kg to round off an excellent day in office for Indian grapplers.

But it all started with young Ravinder's gold. He was a picture of concentration against his English opponent as inspite of finding himself in difficult situations twice in the bout, he stood firm and came out with flying colours.

After some initial exchanges, Ravinder scored two quick points to end the opening round with a 2-0 lead.

But the real show of his character came in the second round when he found himself twice in a disadvantageous position but displayed sound technical acumen to pocket the encounter.

Right from the start, Ravinder was in his elements as he spanked Sri Lanka's ASSD Kumara 13-0 in his opening bout and then outclassed Nigerian Romeo Joseph 8-0 in the semifinals.

While Bosson had to be satisfied with silver in the 60kg division, the bronze went to Romeso James of Nigeria.

Just after Ravinder's feat, Sanjay gave the home fans more reasons to celebrate after beating South Africa's Brian Richard Addinall in the 74kg final to register India's second consecutive gold medal in wrestling.

Sanjay displayed a gritty performance and defeated his English opponent 2-0.

Against Addinall, Sanjay adopted a wait and watch policy and scored points whenever he got an opportunity. The Indian scored a point each in both the rounds to pocket his first Commonwealth Games gold.

Sanjay got the better of Samoa's Laupule Ekeroma 3-0 and Perefegha Kiribein of Nigeria 2-0 in his earlier two bouts.

If that was not enough, veteran Anil Kumar made it three out of three for India when he outclassed Australia's Hassene Fkiri in the final to win the gold in the 96kg.

Anil was by far the better wrestler on display and kept his calm to beat his Australian rival 6-0 in the aggressive title decider.

South Africa's Hugues Kakoma Bella-Lufu earned the silver in this category after Fkiri was stripped off the silver medal for indecent behaviour.

In the final bout against Sanjay, Fkiri was cautioned thrice by the umpire for dangerous play.

The Australian repeated the mistake again, forcing the umpire to disqualify him and asked to leave the mat. But while leaving Fkiri showed middle finger to his opponent and the judges which eventually cost him his silver medal.

Canada's Eric Feunekes, who lost to Hugues Kakoma in the bronze medal play-off bout, was awarded the bronze medal in Fkiri's place.

Earlier, Anil had a contrasting opening two bouts as he overpowered Mark Montogomery of Northern Ireland 13-0 in his first match of the day but later had to work hard to clinch a 3-1 victory over South African Hugues Kakoma in the semifinal.

Canada wins 2 bronze medals in Gymnastics

Canada’s women gymnasts matched the men’s bronze-medal performance as they opened their Commonwealth Games competition Tuesday.

Australia, as expected, won a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games women's team gold with England in second and Canada third.

Australia, with a total of 163.700 points, easily continued the path to gold that began in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

England scored 158.200, with Canada a close third at 154.750 points.


Australia fielded its A-team, as it prepared for the world championship in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in October 16.

England and Canada however chose not to send their leading stars to Delhi, an Agence France Presse report said.

The last three Games have seen the same podium result for the women's team event.

The top 24 men and top 24 women from the team events on Monday and Tuesday advance to the all-round finals, while the top eight men and top eight women advance to the individual apparatus finals at the 14,400-seat Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

Bindra, Narang get first Gold for India

Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang have won the ten metre air rifle pairs to secure India’s first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

On the second day of competition the duo scored 1,193 points to beat their Games record and set the competition alight for the first time.

Bindra and Gagan were repeating their success, having taken the top prize in the same event at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

In second place, England’s James Huckle and Kenny Parr scored 1,174, while Bangladesh took home the bronze medal with 1,173 on the scoreboard.

Bindra, who also won the pairs title alongside Sameer Ambekar in Manchester in 2002, said: “It gives us a good start and hopefully, we will have many more medals in the coming days.”

His words proved prophetic, with Anisa Syyed and Rahee Sarnobat won India’s second gold in the women’s 25 metre pistol pairs.

Their total of 1,156 points beat the 1,150 set by Australia in Manchester in 2002 to set a new Commonwealth Games record.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Weightlifters get India 4 medals on Day 1

Weightlifters brought India's first four medals at the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi on Monday. Soniya Chanu won a silver and Sandhya Rani Devi a bronze in the women's 48 kg category. Soon, Sukhen Dey and Srinivasa Rao Valluri came up with a similar performance in the men's 56 kg.

Badminton was a cakewalk, tennis saw a good day and table tennis produced a mixed bag. The women's hockey team survived a scare, while the swimmers crashed out.

Chanu had a total lift of 167 kg - 73 kg in snatch and 94 kg in the clean and jerk section.

Sandhya Rani had a total lift of 165 kg (snatch 70 kg, clean and jerk 95 kg).

The gold, the first medal of CWG 2010, went to Nigerian Augustina Nwaokolo, who also set a Commonwealth record. She had a total lift of 175kg, with 77kg in the snatch and 98kg in the clean and jerk sections.

Dey lifted a total of 252 kg (snatch 112, clean and jerk 140) for the silver while Srinivasa Rao claimed the bronze with an overall lift of 248 kg (snatch 107, clean and jerk 141).

It was a cakewalk for India in their opening pool D match in the badminton mixed team event with a 5-0 drubbing of Kenya at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

The Indian team, which won the bronze at Melbourne in 2006, are seeded second behind Malaysia. The hosts literally toyed with the Kenyans in front of a sizeable crowd.

Chetan Anand and Saina Nehwal won their singles matches, and then Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas made took the doubles before Ashwini Ponappa and Aparna Balan teamed up to win and finally the mixed pair V Diju and Jwala Gutta made it a clean sweep.

India will face Barbados Tuesday and will play Wales and Scotland on successive days.

Tennis stars Leander Paes and Sania Mirza rounded off a successful opening day for India at the R K Khanna Tennis Complex winning their match dropping just one gameto Saint Lucia's Stacey Nykita Roheman and Alberton Richelieu to enter the mixed doubles quarterfinals.

Rohan Bopanna kicked off the day with an emphatic straight sets victory over Uganda's Robert Buyinza to sail into the last 16 of the men's singles and Rushmi Charkravathi soon made it two in a row for India, dropping only one game in beating Pinki Agnes Montlha of Lesotho.

Poojashree Venkatesha hardly broke sweat blanking Lesotho's Nthabiseng Eunicia Nqosa.

The only blemish in India's campaign was the loss of Bopanna and Nirupama Sanjeev in the mixed doubles first round to top seeds Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 3-6.

India had a mixed opening day in table tennis as the men breezed past island nation Vanuatu while the women lost one of their two group matches against New Zealand.

The Indian eves registered a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sri Lanka in the morning but lost 2-3 in a close match against the impressive New Zealanders later in the day at the Yamuna Sports Complex.

Four of the five New Zealand players are of Chinese origin.

The women's team, bronze medallists four years ago,is seeded fourth in the tournament.

The women's hockey competition also began Monday and India survived a scare against Scotland in pool A, salvaging a 1-1 draw after being down by a third minute goal.

The Scots were off to a great start when Holly Cram found the net in the third minute. India dominated the rest of the game, but missed chances until Jasjeet Kaur scored the equalizer in the 45th minute.

India's men's 4x100 metres freestyle relay swimming team qualified for the finals but finished sixth, as they had in the heats at the at the S.P.Mukherjee Aquatics Complex.

In the men's 50m backstroke, Badrinath Melkote clocked 27.52 secs to qualify for the semi-finals, but couldn't move any further.

Indian swimmers also failed to qualify in the women's 200m freestyle, men's 400m freestyle, women's 200m individual medley, men's 200m butterfly and women's 50m breaststroke.

Vijender, Suranjoy get first round bye

World No.1 Vijender Singh and Asian champion Suranjoy Singh got a first round bye Monday in the draw of lots in the boxing event at the Commonwealth Games here, while defending gold medallist Akhil Kumar would begin his campaign against Qadir Khan of Pakistan later this week.

Only two pugilists, Commonwealth champion Amandeep Singh and former Asian bronze medallist Manoj Kumar would be seen in action in the first round here Tuesday.

Amandeep Singh will take on Peter Warui of Kenya in the light fly weight 49kg category while Manoj faces Daniel Lassayo of Sierra Leone in the light welterweight 64kg category in the afternoon session.

Olympic and World Championship bronze medallist Vijender (75kg) will face Kenyan Dick Ombaka here Friday. Vijender will attempt to become the third Indian boxer after Akhil (2006) and Mohammad Ali Qamar (2002) to win a gold at the Commonwealth Games. In the last Games in Melbourne, Vijender won the silver.

For Akhil, the challenge will be to retain his gold in the bantam weight (56kg) against Qadir Khan in the opening round. Even if Akhil gets through the first round, he will face 20-year-old English boxer Iain Weaver, who had defeated the Indian in the very opening round of the Commonwealth Championships in March.

Suranjoy Singh will face Manyo Plange of Ghana in the second round of the fly weight (52kg) category while Jai Bhagwan, who also got a bye in the first round, will face Colan Caleb of Nauru in the second round of the light weight (60kg) division, Wednesday.

Nine-time national champion Dilbagh Singh (69kg) will throw his punches at Viliami Latu of Tonga and in the light weight 81kg, Arjuna awardee Dinesh Kumar will face Obed Mwakongo of England.

Indian archers dominate day 1 of Commonwealth Games

The wind changed its course at the Yamuna Sports Complex in the eastern fringes of the capital, but that did not break India's rhythm as the recurve archers adjusted to the condition to dominate the ranking round on the opening day of their event at the 19th Commonwealth Games here.

However, the ride wasn't so smooth for the compound archers as they had to fight it out against some of the best.

Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar occupied the top two positions after returning scores of 679 points and 676 after two rounds of 36 arrows over a distance of 70m.

Cadet world champion Deepika Kumari pipped two-time Olympian and 2007 World Finals champion Dola Banerjee for the top spot in the women's recurve.

"Today, the wind direction was opposite (than in previous days). From the last few days, it was from left to right but today, it was from right to left. But we did well to adjust, I am really happy with the show," Indian chief coach Limba Ram said.

Teen sensation Deepika, fresh from her World Cup final stint in Edinburgh, was in her elements as she scored 662 points. Veteran Dola shot 658, while Naomi Anne Folkard of England was third with 642.

"I am feeling really good, its only the ranking round hopefully we will do well in the championship round as well," Deepika told reporters.

She also said England are going to give them the "biggest fight". India's third entry, Laishram Bombayla Devi, was ninth with 624.

In men's recurve, Canada's Jason Lyon was third with 674 while India's third entry Tarundeep Rai, back in the team after a slump in form, finished 13th.

The Sikkim archer, who represented India at the Athens Olympics 2004, shot 647 points.

World No 5 Talukdar said: "It makes me feel happy as it is my home ground and also the pressure is there. I feel confident today, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

"It feels great to play in your own country because the home cheer is there," the Guwahati archer told reporters.

There was a tie with Jayanta (Taulkdar) but I was three points higher then him. From tomorrow, there will be an elimination round which is very important."

In the team event, India topped with 1944 points, England was second with 1904 and Australia finished third with 1841.

CWG Hockey: Indian women held by Scotland

Reigning silver medalists India were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Scotland in their opening Pool A match of the women's hockey event at the Commonwealth Games, at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Monday.

The Indians fought back from a 0-1 deficit and scored through Jasjeet Kaur Handa (45th minute) after Scotland took the lead in the third minute from a Holly Gram field goal.

The Indians had a mixed day in office, displaying contrasting hockey in both halves. While the home team looked out of sorts in the opening period, they dominated proceedings after the breather.

India looked clueless in the first half, sparkling only in patches, while the Scots were by far the better side on display as they combined well to put pressure on the opponent's defence on numerous occasions.

In front of a sparse crowd that gathered at the stadium, India conceded a goal early in the opening half, and from there on played the catch-up game in the rest of the half.

The less-fancied Scots surged ahead as early as in the third minute when Gram scored from a field goal from the left wing.

The Indians, however, got numerous opportunities to draw level but poor ball control and finishing let them down.

Stunned by the opening half goal, the Indians came out with purpose after the change of ends, which was evidently visible in their game.

They went all out, attacking from the onset, and their efforts bore fruit in the 45th minute when Handa drew parity with a field goal after a one-two with Ritu Rani.

Scotland got a great chance to restore their lead two minutes later but Samantha Judge's fierce strike from the top

of the Indian circle went agonisingly wide off the target.

However, in the final 10 minutes of the match, it was all India as the hosts made numerous raids into the rival citadel for the elusive winner but on all occasions, either luck or the stubborn Scottish defence, came in their way.

The draw against 21st ranked Scotland, however, is a disappointing result for the Indian eves, who are looking

forward to emulate their gold medal-winning feat in the 2002 Manchester Games, after having lost out on the opportunity in Melbourne fours years ago.

India next the face the mighty Australians while Scotland will be up against Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, in the other women's hockey matches of the day, New Zealand defeated Wales 5-1 in Pool B, South Africa trounced Trinidad and Tobago 12-0 in Pool A, while Malaysia beat Canada 3-2 in Pool B.

Australia bags 4X100 freestyle Gold

A storming finish by teenager James Magnussen has helped Australia break the Commonwealth Games record and claim the 4x100m freestyle relay gold medal at Delhi.

The team of Kyle Richardson, Eamon Sullivan, Tommaso D'Orsogna and Magnussen clocked 3:13.92 to finish ahead of England (3:15.05) and South Africa (3:15.21).

The effort eclipsed the previous Games record of 3:14.97 set by South Africa in Melbourne 2006.

Former world record holder Eamon Sullivan's scorching second leg of 47.49 seconds moved a sluggish Australia from fourth to first.

D'Orsogna kept Australia in front until the final change before England's Adam Brown ambushed Magnussen.

The 19-year-old looked gone when Brown led at the final turn before he found another gear to seal Australia's third gold medal of the opening night in the pool.

It was a welcome relief for the Australian men in the swimming team, who have been forced to play second fiddle to their female counterparts in recent years.

Their lowest point came in the 2006 Melbourne Games, when the Australian men managed just one gold - in the 4x100m medley relay on the final night of competition.

That trend looked set to continue when red hot favourite Nick D'Arcy failed to make the 200m butterfly final.

Then Ryan Napoleon - who overcame a drug ban and Delhi belly to make the 400m freestyle final - was pipped at the post by Canada's Ryan Cochrane.

Olympic silver medalist Sullivan said the men's team had been inspired to earn their first gold medal of the Games following D'Arcy's debacle.

"After a bit of a shock with D'Arcy missing the final, we wanted to come out and produce the goods and set the tone for the rest of the meet for the guys," he said.

"That's what we have got to carry through for the rest of the meet."

Commonwealth Games medals tally: Day 1

Commonwealth Games medals tally at the end of Day 1:


Click here to see day 1 results.


Click here to see Commonwealth Games medals tally at the end of day 2.

Kylie Palmer gets first swimming Gold

y 1 Australian swimmer Kylie Palmer has collected the first swimming gold medal at New Delhi 2010, winning the women's 200-meter freestyle in one of the highest-profile sports at the Commonwealth Games.

Palmer finished in 1 minute, 57.50 seconds, with Jazmin Carlin of Wales earning silver in 1:58.29 and Rebecca Adlington of England, the 400- and 800-meter Olympic champion, taking bronze in 1:58.47.

Four more swimming gold medals were to be awarded later Monday and 44 overall in the six-day program at the Dr. Dr. S. P. Mukherjee Aquatics Complex.

South Africa picks up 2 medals in swimming

Team South Africa have got their medals tally off to a flying start on the opening day of competition at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi by earning two medals in swimming events.

(Click here to see Day 1 medals tally)


Durban matric pupil Chad Le Clos won the country’s first medal of the competition with victory on the 200m butterfly.

Swimming in lane two Le Clos burst through from nowhere in the final lap to touch first, upstaging a field that included teammate Sebastien Rousseau and England swimmers Paul Rock and Peter Roebuck.

The 18-year-old Le Clos, who competed in his first European galas only last year, was well out of the top three throughout the race, although Rouseau was third going into the final turn.

The South African 4x100m freestyle relay team earned bronze.

The relay team, victors at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, were beaten into third place by Australia and England, but they at least ensured a relay medal for SA for the third successive Games. They won silver in Manchester 2002.

Cochrane wins 400m freestyle Gold

Swimmer Ryan Cochrane has won Canada's first medal at the Commonwealth Games. And it's a gold.

Cochrane, of Victoria, won the men's 400-metre freestyle in a time of three minutes, 48.48 seconds Monday.

Winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games is special to Cochrane.

His first big international competition was four years ago at the Melbourne, Australia, Commonwealth Games.

Since then Cochrane has won an Olympic bronze medal and two world championship medals.

Click here to see Commonwealth Games medals tally: Day1

Rock bands to perform at Commonwealth Games village

A number of popular rock bands including Indian Ocean and famed singers like Daler Mehndi and Hariharan are likely to give a series of dazzling performances for over a week at the Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi. Rock n' roll band 'Them Clones' is likely to perform today followed by East India Company tomorrow and Pentagram, led by Bollywood music composer Vishal Dadlani, the day after.

On October 7, the band 'Soul Mate' will hit the stage while Mohit Chauhan of 'Masakali' fame, singer Daler Mehndi and Palash Sen's Euphoria will perform October 8, 9 and 10.

Singer Hariharan and world famous percussionist Sivamani will showcase their talents on October 12. Grammy Award nominated film composer and jazz musician Louiz Banks will also perform on the same day.

Meanwhile, Indian Ocean, a contemporary fusion music band from Delhi, will cast its spell in amphitheater here on October 13. These cultural programmes are a part of 'Delhi Celebrates', planned out by both the state and central governments to showcase the wonders of India's music during the Commonwealth Games, which began here yesterday.

"Delhi Celebrates will bring together more than 5,000 artists and performers from all over the country and across the Commonwealth in what shall be Delhi's most exhilarating festival of art and culture," Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.

Many cultural events will be showcased at INA, Connaught Place, Kamani and FICCI Auditorium, Qutub Minar Complex besides others. A festival of Mushairas, Ghazals and Qawallis 'Jashn-e-Delhi' will also be organised from today to October 7 at Town Hall Lawn, Chandni Chowk.

The sporting extravaganza will end on October 14.

Special train to Agra for Commonwealth Games participants

The Railways will run a special Shatabdi train from Delhi to Agra to enable participants and officials of the Commonwealth Games visit Taj Mahal and other monuments.

The train will leave New Delhi at 7:55am and reach Agra at 10.40am. In return direction, it will leave Agra at 5pm.

"On arrival at Agra, 20 buses arranged by the Railways will take the visitors to various tourist spots, including the Taj Mahal, in the city," Devesh Mishra, divisional manager, told reporters here.

The train, which will have 9 coaches including one reserved for physically handicapped, will run from Wednesday till the end of Games. Around 550 passengers are expected to travel on the train everyday, he said.

Mishra said security at the Agra cantonment station is being tightened and more infrastructure developed including enquiry counters, train indication and coach display boards and video enquiry system.

Bopanna, Sanjeev defeated by Aussie pair

Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna had to face defeat with his partner Nirupama Sanjeev against the Australian pair of Anastasia Rodionova and Paul Hanley in the mixed doubles at the Commonwealth Games here on Monday.

They lost the match by 3-6,6-3,3-6 score.

Earlier, Bopanna defeated Robert Buyinza of Uganda with 6-1,6-4 in the men's singles tennis event.

On Sunday, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Prince Charles jointly inaugurated the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the national capital.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games was marked by a multicrore cultural extravaganza, dance, music and fireworks.

It was a magnificent opening that offered a glimpse of India's great heritage and tradition through a light, music and dance show, which led to the opening of the 11-day sporting extravaganza.

Nigeria gets first CWG Gold, India gets Silver & Bronze

Nigerian weightlifter Augustina Nwakolo scooped the first gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games on Monday, dashing hosts India's hopes of claiming it for themselves.

The 17-year-old jumped into the arms of her coach to celebrate her victory in the women's 48kg category, which she nailed with Games records in both the snatch and clean and jerk for a total of 175kg.

Local hopes rested on Soniya Chanu's shoulders but she failed to match the Nigerian and had to settle for silver with 167kg ahead of compatriot Sandhya Rani Devi, who managed a combined 165kg.

Chanu cleared 167 kg to stand second in the event behind Nigerian woman Augustina Nwaokolo who hoisted 175 kg to win the contest. She also created a new Games record. Sandya Rani took the bronze with a total clearance of 165 kg.

Chanu and Nwaokolo were tied with the same clearance of 94 kg in the snatch competition but the latter, who weighed marginally less than the Indian woman, settled the issue in the clean and jerk category by clearing 8 kgs more.

Seebohm faces setback, won't be able to replicate Phelps

Emily Seebohm's quest for eight gold medals in the Commonwealth Games pool ended early with defeat to Australian teammate Alicia Coutts in the 200-meter individual medley, her first final of the games.

Coutts won in 2 minutes, 09.70 seconds Monday with Seebohm finishing in 2:10.83. Julia Wilkinson of Canada took the bronze in 2:12.09.

The race was missing Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice, who isn't competing in Delhi due to a shoulder injury.

In other finals, Kylie Palmer of Australia won the 200-meter freestyle, Ryan Cochrane of Canada the 400 freestyle and Chad Le Cos of South Africa the men's 200 butterfly. A men's 400-meter freestyle relay final was scheduled for later Monday.

Seebohm, who was attempting to match American Michael Phelps' feat of eight golds at a meet set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was fourth-fastest in the women's 50-meter butterfly semifinals Monday and will swim that final on Tuesday.

Palmer finished in 1 minute, 57.50 seconds, with Jazmin Carlin of Wales earning silver in 1:58.29 and Rebecca Adlington of England, the 400- and 800-meter Olympic champion, taking bronze in 1:58.47.

British royal Prince Charles, who officially opened the games on Sunday, attended the morning session while his youngest brother, Edward, attended the final events later in the day. Prince Edward presented the medals to the Palmer, Carlin and Adlington.

While some of the other venues reported sparse attendances, more than 1,000 clapped in unison to "Land Down Under" when Palmer walked off the pool deck with her gold medal.

Carlin is the first woman from Wales to claim a Commonwealth Games medal in swimming since Patricia Beavan won gold in the 200 breaststroke in 1974.

Adlington said she was surprised by her bronze.

"I definitely didn't expect this at all," she said. "I thought I'd get around maybe fourth or fifth so I'm very happy I got third place."

Two champions from the 2006 Melbourne Games failed to qualify for their finals on Monday morning - Moss Burmester of New Zealand in the 200-meter butterfly and Caitlin McClatchey of Scotland in the 200-meter freestyle.

Burmester was 10th-fastest in the heats of the 200-meter butterfly. McClatchey, the 200-meter freestyle Commonwealth record holder, was 17th.

"I'm really disappointed," she said. "I've had a very inconsistent training program, fitness has been a bit of a problem because I've had a bit of a chest infection. I've lost a little bit of confidence in myself."

Australian Nick D'Arcy's hard-luck story continued. D'Arcy, who was not allowed to compete for Australia at the Beijing Olympics after being convicted of assault in a barroom brawl with a former swimmer, was ninth-fastest in the men's 200 butterfly Monday and failed to advance.

"It's pretty tough," D'Arcy said. "I didn't go as well as I wanted. It's a big international event so it hurts."

D'Arcy's coach Brian Stehr said his swimmer was "a shadow of his former self."

"I really don't know what the problem was, but it's obviously another setback for Nick," Stehr said.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Rahman enthralls audience, beckons athletes to perform


A R Rahman had the 60,000 strong crowd at the glitzy Commonwealth Games opening ceremony up and dancing here on Sunday with his rendition of the theme song 'Jeeyo Utho Badho Jeeto', which had received brickbats when it was first unveiled in August.

The Academy Award winning musician had promised to go beyond Shakira's soccer anthem 'Waka Waka' with the composition and he delivered a powerful performance, backed by a spectacle of dancers.

Amidst a colourful play of fire works and 500,000 watts of music, the crowd cheered as the aerostat came alive with vivid imagery.

Dressed casually in a white jacket-and-denims combination, the hitmaker was welcomed by loud cheering as he stepped on to the stage to perform the theme song.

Flanked by dancers in red and white, Rahman also performed his international hit 'Jai Ho' which won him an Oscar last year.

The theme song which is based on the motto of the Games, "Come out and play", was the grand finale to the cultural extravaganza which was put together by some 7000 artistes.

Adding to the special effects were the hundreds of light beams that crisscrossed each other. During the entire song, fire crackers went up in the air illuminating an otherwise dark sky.

The audience included Prince Charles, his wife Camilla Parker Bowles, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Pratibha Patil and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and an estimated 2 billion people who watched the ceremony on live television around the world.

The original version of the song had got a lukewarm response and was then tweaked and turned into a peppy sports anthem.

The 44-year-old musician had won two coveted Oscar trophies in 2009 for his compositions in the Mumbai based potboiler 'Slumdog Millionaire'.

CWG Opening ceremony takes spectators to Great Indian journey

Think Gandhi, think India. Think tea stalls and sweetmeat shops, think India. Think Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan, think India.

A brilliantly choreographed piece, the 'Great Indian Journey', at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games Sunday evening was a sneak peek into what India is all about.

Setting the mood was a train that arrived with popular TV anchor Hussain Kuwajerwala dancing to the beats of Bollywood number 'Chaiyya Chaiyya' on top of it, just like the on-screen number.

Thereafter it was a medley of scenes typical of India. There were milkmen riding around in bicycles, a mobile bangle shop, a cycle shop, Mumbai's dabbawalahs, rural India's folkfore.

There were people dressed as fishermen, politicians in a white ambassador, blacksmiths and the like.

There was also a wedding band, a kite shop, a moving theatre with huge cutouts of Bollywood actors Amitabh Bacchan, Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan.

Artists performing traditional dances like bihu, Rajasthani dance, bhangra and bamboo dance were part of the colourful show.

The piece culminated with Mahatma Gandhi's portrait floating up on the stage, and artists creating famous Dandi march on sand. Prince Charles and his wife were particularly enthralled to see the fine sandwork done to showcase India's journey to Independence.
A special performance of Yoga by group of over 800 people highlighted India's approach to wellness and health.

Prince Charles, President Patil declare Games open

Amidst cheers by the spectators, President Pratibha Patil declared the Games open. After athletes of all participating teams entered the stadium, CWG Baton arrived at stadium carried by India's ace boxer Vijender Kumar. The same was ultimately passed onto Sushil Kumar, who handed it over to Prince Charles.

After message from Suresh Kalmadi, PM Manmohan Singh and Mike Fennell; Prince Charles and Pratibha Patil declared the games open.

The 19th Commonwealth Games were jointly declared open by Prince Charles and President of India Pratibha Patil on Sunday at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, the main venue for the Commonwealth Games.

Here's the complete text of President Patil's speech:
  
Sport, has always been, a powerful bridge, across cultures and people. At the 19th Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, we shall see this come true, one more time. We will witness, the power of sport, to bring together, athletes from the nations and territories of the Commonwealth, bound together, by a commonality of purpose.

Over the next 11 days, thousands of athletes will take part, in intense competition, across different sports and para-sport disciplines. We will see, a variety of emotions unfold, when the competitions begin. And we will experience much of it, ourselves.

More than anything else, we will see human endeavour, at its best. Each athlete will strive to give his or her best. Such determined effort, will offer those watching the Games, a great opportunity, to imbibe lessons that will enable them enhance the quality of their pursuits.

Sports is a microcosm of life. Those watching sports persons pursue their dreams, will get to see, how to perform under enormous stress, and, to deal with success and failure. Let me wish the athletes, the very best in their dedicated pursuit of excellence.

To our friends from other countries, let me say: India is a diverse and beautiful nation, with a rich heritage and culture. I am sure you will experience it in all its hues and cherish it. To my fellow Indians, I would like to say: let us use this opportunity, to showcase our legendary hospitality, while we enjoy the celebration of sport in our country.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi are now open.

Let the Games begin.

Athletes parade concludes during CWG opening ceremony


Indian Contingent at CWG Opening Ceremony
Australia were the first country to walk into the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games Sunday evening. Netball player Sharelle Mcmahon was the flag bearer for the Australians.

The rest of 70 teams followed the Australian contingent.

(Read: Commonwealth Games opening ceremony starts)

Aminated Australians contingent entered the stadium cheered by loud roar of 60,000 fans.

England gave an Indian touch to their uniforms in their march past for athletes at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony Sunday. The team members walked into the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in red Nehru jackets with a loose-fitting white ensemble, resembling the Indian kurta pyjama.

Interestingly, Pakistani contingent got amongst loudest cheer from the Indian audiences. The players thoroughly enjoyed the welcome and some of them appeared amused.

South African contingent did not need any cheer as they came armed with vuvuzelas threatening to outdo a stadium packed with audience.

(Read our Commonwealth Games opening ceremony coverage)

All the teams were led out by Indian girls wearing the Indian sari in 71 different styles.

At last to come out was Indian contingent of 619 sportspersons led by Abhinav Bindra. They got standing ovation from all present in the stadium including President Patil, PM Manmohan Singh and Prince Charles.

Commonwealth Games opening ceremony starts

India is keen on delivering the best ever Commonwealth Games. Keeping with the promise of Organzing committee, the Games opening ceremony started with a bang with hundreds of drummers from across the country producing the most delicious music.

Watched by millions across the globe, the 19th Commonwealth Games got off to a spectacular start here amid traditional Indian music and a burst of colour at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the heart of the city.

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Indian President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watched as 1,000 drummers stirred up a thumping beat.
Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

After the national anthem was sung, the opening act, Rhythm of India, set the mood for the much awaited sports event with electrifying energy.

The ’shankh naad’ (auspicious blowing of conch shells) and fireworks then lit the sky like dawn.

A helium aerostat crowned the stadium and suspended puppets danced to life when drummers dressed from across the country gathered in unison claiming that India has arrived.

In the center was child prodigy, Keshav on tabla giving lead to 1000 drummers from across the country.

The drumming session was followed by song "Swagatham" meaning 'Welcome' with interesting concept. At 4 corners of center stage were 100s of children under a white cloth. They painted "Mehndi" (traditional art form of decorating hand with red color) while being under the cloth providing a visual treat to 60000 spectators. To spectators it appeared as if the cloth is getting on the color automatically.

Amazing aerostat is center piece of CWG opening ceremony

As the clock struck seven and beautiful fireworks lit the sky to signal the start of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, a huge helium balloon lifted up from the centre of the jampacked Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with colourful pupets dangling from it to welcome the spectators.

The Rs. 70 crore aerostat was the star attraction of the ceremony that showcased India’s rich culture.

The aerostat is said to be the biggest helium balloon in the world. Being used for the first time for an entertainment event, the aerostat was suspended 25 metres above the ground.


 


Sized at 40 metresX80 metresX12 metres, the aerostat has a 360 degree projection surface.


Manufactured by Per Lindstrandt and designed by Merk Fsher, it has an underbelly that reflects the lighting on the field of play.

Bindra to be 4th shooter to carry Indian flag

India's only individual Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra on Sunday will become the fourth shooter to carry the national flag in a mega event.

Bindra, who won the gold in the 10 metre air rifle event in Beijing, was elated. He said it was a dream come true.

"As a 15-year-old I represented the country in my first Commonwealth Games in 2002 at Manchester. Today I am living a dream. To represent the country in the Commonwealth Games and also to carry the national flag is a great honour," said Bindra, who was the youngest member of the Indian contingent in Manchester.

Since the 1982 Asian Games, Indian shooters have been flag bearers in different multi-event extravaganza.

The late Karni Singh, a silver medallist in skeet in the World Championships, was the flag bearer at the 1982 Asian Games. World champion pistol shooter Jaspal Rana carried the Indian flag at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore carried the Indian flag at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Security tight ahead of opening ceremony

As crowds begin spilling into the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium ahead of tonight's extravaganza, Indian authorities have dispatched thousands of security personnel to Delhi's streets in an unprecedented show of force.

Almost 100,000 police are manning city streets, along with 1,500 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, 300 sniffer dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads.

Outside the stadium, spectators, media and dignitaries are going through security check-points involving bag searches, metal detectors, frisking and even radiation checks.

Overhead, military helicopters are buzzing across the skyline and unmanned aerial drones are said to be keeping an eye on possible air space intrusions.

But in its latest advice, the Government makes specific reference to the lack of security at areas around the city which are showing Games coverage on large public screens.

"There are plans to erect 25 large screens in various areas of New Delhi to allow people to watch the Commonwealth Games," the advice said.

"These sites will have a lower level of security than at the Games venues."

More than 60,000 people will watch the spectacle from within the stadium tonight.

The three-hour long show will celebrate many aspects of India's rich culture, including its traditions in yoga, its famous train journeys and a Bollywood-style finale featuring a theme song created by Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire-fame.

About 250 members of the 546-strong Australian team will be the first athletes to enter the venue because Australia hosted the last Games in Melbourne.

The Australian team was earlier given a clean bill of health ahead of the opening ceremony.

As hosts of these Games, Indian athletes will come in last.

Pakistan weightlifters threaten boycott

Angry Pakistan weightlifters threatened a Commonwealth Games walkout after an embarrassing opening ceremony scuffle saw a top official snatch his country's flag from a national sports hero.

Chef de mission Mohammad Ali Shah insisted on carrying the flag at the head of the team parade during Sunday's showpiece instead of the country's celebrated former gold medal weightlifter Shuja-ud-Din Malik.

Pakistan weightlifting manager Rashid Mehmood said the team had considered a boycott in protest at the humiliation suffered by Malik, a gold medallist at last Games in Melbourne four years ago.

"It was a shameful act because holding the flag was Malik's right and it was decided before the Games that Malik would carry the flag in the opening ceremony," said Mehmood of an incident witnessed by 60,000 people inside the stadium and a worldwide television audience of millions.

"It was an embarrassment for Pakistanis all around the world as television showed the name of Malik on the telecast under a picture of Shah carrying the flag and we considered a boycott but decided against it."

Aqil Shah, vice-president of the Pakistan Olympic Association, added: "I was shocked to see the chef de mission holding the flag.

"Holding the national flag is always the prerogative of an athlete and that's decided before the ceremony.

"I was the chef de mission of the Pakistan delegation on various occasions and never tried to hold the flag in the opening ceremony, because it is the right of the athlete. This controversy should have been avoided."

Former hockey star Shahnaz Shaikh has demanded an inquiry into the controversy.

"I was shocked to see Shah snatching the flag from weightlifter Shuja Malik and carrying it. It was unacceptable and I demand an inquiry against Shah."

Reports in Delhi said Pakistan Olympic Association president Arif Hasan had intervened to avoid a boycott by the weightlifting team.

The smart Indian commando

Gun-toting commandos have been one of the surprise hits at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Before the Games opening ceremony began Sunday, many spectators made a beeline for the handsome security personnel on duty.

Visitors, who had entered four hours before the ceremony began, could be seen clicking photographs of the commandos or even posing with them for the cameras.

Girls have been cooing about the security personnel and trying to have a chat. However, today is not their day as security team is focussed on their job.

“They look so smart and reassuring,” said Amar Jain, 25, who got a picture taken. “And they are handsome too,” he added enviously.

Live Telecast of Commonwealth Games

Following channels will be telecasting Commonwealth Games live in respective countries:

(Read our Commonwealth Games opening ceremony coverage)

BBC: UK and online streaming (CLICK HERE)
India: Doordarshan
NZ: Sky
Australia: Foxtel (CLICK HERE)
Canada: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Click here for broadcasting schedule.

Prince Charles visits Commonwealth Games village

With just few hours left for the opening ceremony of the XIXth Commonwealth Games 2010, the heir to British throne Prince Charles visited the athletes' village here on Sunday.

Prince Charles will jointly declare the opening of the Commonwealth Games 2010 with President Pratibha Patil on Sunday evening.

Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived in New Delhi on Saturday and were received at the airport by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram made a surprise visit at the main media center of the Commonwealth Games 2010 to take stock of the arrangements.

Apart from 10,000 athletes from 71 teams representing 54 Commonwealth member states, India is expecting huge inflow of spectators and tourists during this mega event.

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

Only Indian currency accepted

From flowers to souvenirs, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping at the Commonwealth Games Village, but there’s a catch. They can do so only in Indian currency.

The sprawling Village houses a flower shop, an ice-cream parlour, a general store and souvenir shops. When the more than 6,000 players from 71 teams come back after a hard day’s practice, many of them head for these shops.

That’s when they notice the Organising Committee guideline pasted at all outlets, “Only Indian currency accepted here”. Of course, there is the option of using cards (debit and credit), but most players indulge in retail therapy by rushing off to the Central Bank of India branch in the International Zone to get some rupee notes.

No video referrals in CWG hockey matches

Video referral will not be available in hockey at the troubled Commonwealth Games after the technology was requested too late, officials said.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has used a video referral system at all major tournaments since 2006, but it will not be functioning here, in the latest hitch to hit the Delhi games, said the official in charge of venues, AVS Prasad.

“It came to our notice very late. As soon as we came to know about it, we asked the FIH to send the equipment,” Prasad, said.

“We were a little late but there were some issues. We have to follow some procedures as it is public money we are dealing with. The FIH told us it is too late for the referral system to be put in place now.”

Veteran Australian hockey player Jamie Dwyer lamented the lack of a referral system.

“I like the video review system. It’s good for the game of hockey. It’s a shame that it is not here in such an important event,” Dwyer told reporters.

But Glenn Kirkham, who plays in the centre midfield position for the England team, said the technology could be a hindranceas well as a help.

However, both hockey players were impressed by the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, venue for the tournament.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Rwanda set for Commonwealth Games debut

These are the 19th Commonwealth Games, but for Rwanda, competing at the event will be a new experience - the country only joined the Commonwealth in November 2009.However, the central African country's small team in Delhi is ambitious for sporting success and they are eager for the chance to shape Rwanda's image across the world.

Nobody can forget the genocide of 1994 , in which more than 800,000 people died in systematic violence lasting more than three months, but Bonnie Mugabe, Rwanda's young chef de mission in Delhi, says it is time for his country's reputation to be broadened.

"To me, we don't only want Rwanda to be known for genocide - yes the genocide happened and the world should never forget that, but [we want to] put it to one side and develop our country, through sports and through tourism," he told me.

Earning success here in Delhi is his way of achieving that goal.

"If we win medals, the athletes will develop personally, they will get sponsorship, and sports [will] develop - so if we put on a good show and win some silverware it will help in the development of Rwanda as well," Mugabe said.

While Rwanda will be represented in only four disciplines at the Games - athletics, cycling, swimming and boxing - the country does have a chance of winning medals.

Mugabe is a confident man, saying: "I expect a medal in cycling and in the athletics."

The cycling team is lead by South Africa-based pro Adrien Niyonshuti, and the group has been training in that country to prepare specifically for Delhi and for the African Championships, which Rwanda hosts later this year.

In athletics - especially in the long distance events - Rwanda has experienced competitors who can challenge their near-neighbours Kenya and Uganda for honours, such as two-time Olympian Epiphanie Nyirabarame.

As Rwanda prepare to make their Commonwealth Games debut, there is one other message which their chef de mission wants to get across.

Every member of the team was affected by the genocide - some witnessed the murders of family members and only narrowly escaped with their own lives.

But the Mugabe wanted to make it clear that whatever their experience or ethnic background, the athletes and officials in Delhi represent a united country.

"Sport has done a lot in uniting Rwandans - it is the main tool which has helped in building the nation, 16 years after the genocide," he said.

"Right here we have a team and we are all Rwandans."

Queen's Baton reaches CWG village

The Queen's Baton for the XIXth Commonwealth Games 2010 reached the athletes' village on Saturday. Scores of people gathered to cheer the arrival of the Queen's Baton.

Former Olympian and Dronacharya Awardee Satpal Singh, who carried the baton into the village, said people were eagerly waiting for the Games.

"It's very good, people are very excited about it. People are waiting eagerly for the Games and to take part in Queen's Baton Relay," said Singh.

Travelling by different modes and going through thousands of hands, the baton covered over 20,000 kilometres in 340 days, making the Baton Relay 2010 one of the longest relays in the history of the Games.

The Queen's Baton symbolises unity and shared ideals of the Commonwealth nations.

The baton carries a message of the head of the Commonwealth nations, Queen Elizabeth II, who flagged off the global tour of the baton on October 29, 2009 from Buckingham palace in London in the presence of the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

The Commonwealth Games will take place in the Delhi from October 3 and will conclude on October 14.

Delhi set for Commonwealth Games

Spruced up, the Indian capital is all set to host the 19th Commonwealth Games with a spectacular opening ceremony Sunday featuring a display of music and dance involving thousands of young and experienced artists.

With an army of police and paramilitary personnel fanning out in the city, the 6,700 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories eagerly awaited the inaugural by Prince Charles and Indian President Pratibha Patil at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the heart of the city.

In a resounding thumbs up, the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly Saturday commended the Delhi Games Organising Committee for getting things ready for hosting the Oct 3-14 event.

Although some high-priced tickets for the opening ceremony remain unsold, most Delhiites are delighted seeing a cleaner, greener and more colourful city, notwithstanding the last minute scrambles and earlier flak over sloppy and sluggish preparations.

Indian officials say there is nothing to worry on the security front. And most visitors appear to agree.

With Home Minister P. Chidambaram at the helm of affairs, some 100,000 security personnel will be guarding the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and other Games venues, backed by the military and high-tech gadgetry.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Chidambaram visited the Village Saturday for a final inspection.

Delhi itself is excited.

The capital witnessed a virtual shutdown Saturday owing to Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary - when markets and businesses normally shut. But with the Games opening, it will be a virtual forced holiday Sunday even for popular markets and street vendors.

The Queen's Baton Relay is on its final stretch in the national capital, led by white horses, vintage and classic cars, 'nagada' players and Nihang warriors. It will reach the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Sunday.

India is fielding the largest contingent of 619 athletes - 379 men and 240 women - and will be competing in all 17 disciplines at the Games.

This is the first time the Games are being opened by two dignitaries as part of a compromise pact between the hosts and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who arrived in the capital Saturday, visited President Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the evening.

Around 7,000 men, women and children will take part in the two-hour-long opening ceremony, which is divided into six segments: Rhythms of India, Swagatam, Tree of Knowledge, Yoga, Great Indian Journey and Oscar winner composer A.R. Rahman's rendition of the CWG anthem 'Jiyo Utho Badho Jeeto'.

Speaking about the security arrangements, Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal said: 'We also have the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team which is armed with sophisticated weapons and ready to handle any situation.'

'Around 3,000 CCTV cameras have also been installed in and around the Games venues,' he added.

Thanks to the Games, be it an expanded Metro, stadia, flyovers, buses, bus shelters, or streetscaping on arterial roads, there is much by way of infrastructure that has been added to the capital.

And, it has also finally dawned on Delhiites that all this and more that has come about because of the Games will add to their convenience long after the mega event is over.

K.D. Kaushal, a retired government official, has been doing the rounds of the city for the last few days, taking stock of the changes. 'I have never seen Delhi as beautiful as this in my life,' the 65-year-old told IANS.

'The sporting event has brought in a lot of new opportunities for the city. The change on the ground is already quite perceptible,' said Ankit Varshney, a software analyst.

Accolades for the facilities at the Games Village and the venues continued to pour in from athletes and officials.

Welsh chef de mission Chris Jenkins said Saturday: 'I am really quite impressed with the transition. I had come here two weeks ago and things were really quite chaotic. But the athletes who came here three days ago are absolutely delighted with the residential wings and also the training facilities. The food is also quite good.'

'The venues are outstanding and we are really looking forward to competing there,' he added.

Indian govt issues guidelines for spectators

The Home Ministry on Saturday said adequate security arrangements has been put in place for the Commonwealth Games and issued a set of guidelines for spectators hours ahead of the Opening Ceremony. The opening ceremony will start @ 1900 hrs local time. Entry into stadium will start @ 1400 hrs IST.

"Adequate security arrangements have been put in place in order to provide security to the sportspersons, officials, spectators, invitees, volunteers and workforce as well as to the entire city of Delhi," the Ministry said in a statement.

It said that along with the tickets, the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games has circulated Do's and Don'ts for ticket-holders.

"While reiterating those Do's and Don'ts, all those who will visit the Games venues should also observe the Guidelines," it said.

It asked the spectators to plan in advance taking into account the possible traffic in order to reach the venue on time. The guidelines said one should be prepared to stand in queue.

"You should carry your ticket or accreditation card (together with the ticket) without fail. No one will be admitted without a ticket or an accreditation card (together with the ticket).

"Flap Barriers and RF readers have been installed to 'read' the ticket and the accreditation card. If the reading shows the ticket or accreditation card as 'invalid', a second attempt will be made, and if the second attempt too shows the ticket or the accreditation card as 'invalid', the person will not be admitted," the statement said.

Every person will be frisked and checked. The guidelines said it is possible that the flap barrier or the RF reader may fail sometimes, for a few minutes, owing to technological glitches.

In such a case, the security personnel will do a thorough manual check of the person, the ticket and the accreditation card and one must be prepared to subject themselves to the manual check. In addition, every person will be frisked and checked.

With regard to parking, the guidelines said only a few vehicles or cars with authorised 'vehicle access passes' will be allowed to go up to the designated points in the games venues.

"If you are travelling by a car with an authorised 'vehicle access pass', you will be required to alight at a designated point. You must walk the remaining distance to the entry gates."

It said visitors who travel by vehicles which do not have a 'vehicle access pass' may use the Park and Ride or the Park and Walk schemes.

The Ministry also requested asked citizens to use public transport as far as possible.

"The Do's and Dont's and these 'Guidelines' will apply to every visitor and there will be no relaxation and no exception will be made in any case. All are requested to cooperate," it said

Canada, NZ request for a short stay during opening ceremony

Commonwealth countries, including Canada and New Zealand, have sought assurances about logistics before committing to participation in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony here tomorrow.

One of the concerns related to the length of time the athletes would have to stay at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for the opening ceremony, as some countries said they wanted their athletes to take part in the march past but then return immediately to the Games Village, missing the cultural show and the official opening speeches.

Commonwealth Games Canada President Andrew Pipe said that his country is concerned of their athletes' "well-being being compromised" due to heat factor and logistic issues but stopped short of saying that his country would not take part in the opening ceremony.

"We are concerned of how long our athletes will be out of the Games Village, how long they will stand during the ceremony under this (high) temperature, what are the arrangements for food, drinks and public conveniences to be provided on them. These are very fundamental issues.

"We are also concerned that the shelter for so many athletes taking part in the ceremony before and after the march past ceremony is small as far as we gather. We have raised all these questions during the chefs de mission meeting today. Mr Fennell has assured us that the issues will be sorted out," he said.

Organising committee spokesperson and Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, however, said that all the countries will take part in the opening ceremony and the matter has been sorted out.

"They want to ensure that the athletes' hold-up area before their entry into the stadium for the march past be covered. We have agreed to do that. We will do it. All the countries are taking part in the opening ceremony," Bhanot asserted.

Reports from England also said that Scotland and the Isle of Man have also sought assurances about logistics and some security matters before committing to participating in the opening ceremony.

Earlier, Pipe said Commonwealth Games Canada would not have sent the athletes had the cleanliness issue of the Games Village had not been addressed by the Indian authorities.

"We want to play a prominent role in the success of any Commonwealth Games but we could not compromise on the comfort of the athletes who, after all, are the focus of any Games. Till the athletes do not have a place to sleep which were acceptable to us we would not have sent them," Pipe said.

"I think, in hindsight, we have done the right thing and the CGF had brought the pressure also (on the Indian authorities. I think we would not have done differently," he added.

The concerns notwithstanding, the Canadian contingent were all praise of the world-class facilities, including the competition venues and Games Village.

Commonwealth Games Canada director of Sports Scott Stevenson said the Games Village and competition venues were world class.

"The Games Village has been exceptional and the competition venues are all world-class. We have no complaints," he said.

Asked about Canada's target in the medal tally, he said, "I can't predict how may medals we are winning. We have prepared hard for the last two years. We have come with a strong squad and we would at least want to be third and close the gap with England if possible."

Weightlifting coach Piere Bergeron said the weightlifting competition venue was world-class and, for the first time, the Games Village has a training area.

"For the first time in any Games, there is a training arena which is top class inside the Village and we don't need to go anywhere for training," he said.

Canada contingent flag bearer Ken Pereira, an athlete of Indian origin, said his country has come here after a hard preparation and he was looking ahead for a good performance from the athletes.

"I think we are going to perform very well here and I am eager for the Games to start. I have always enjoyed coming to India as my parents were born here," he said.

"I was here in March during the Hockey World Cup and I had gone out to have some fun then. I have relatives in Mumbai and I have to see how many there are in Delhi if I get some time to go out," he quipped.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Special opening ceremony postage stamp released

The Indian postal department has brought out a special stamp to commemorate the opening ceremony of the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games that kickstarts in the capital on Sunday. If it is a village it ought to have its own post office and the brand new Commonwealth Games Village here is no exception.

Sandwiched between a row of shops in the International Zone is a fully operational post office, with its own pin code 110090, that seems to be attracting good business.

Having opened on September 16, the Post Office which offers facilities such as speed and registered post as well as ordinary mail, is also selling through its philately section a variety of stamps in different sizes.

These have, according to officials become popular among the athletes, who want to take home something from Delhi.

"People are very excited about the Post Office and are buying many stamps and other souveniers from here," says an official.

Magie Lynes, an England team official says, "It is very useful to have a post office in the village. Everybody wants to send something home."

She says she has been sending colourful postcards and letters to friends and relatives.

"One athlete, a shooter even shipped across a part of his gun. Initially he was skeptical whether we could deliver it but we wrapped the part and have couried it to Italy," says an official.

Generally the host countries of the Commonwealth Games as well as some competing nations celebrate the Games philatelically.

Commonwealth Games a hit amongst athletes

Fears over the state of the Commonwealth Games athletes village look to have fizzled out with the accommodation earning positive reviews across the board from competitors.

Despite alarm from several teams just two weeks out from the Games when the village was described as "filthy" and "unliveable", a late clean-up appears to have worked with athletes speaking highly of their homes as Sunday's opening ceremony approaches.

England flag bearer Nathan Robertson was the latest to give praise on Friday, even declaring the accommodation the best he'd seen in four Commonwealth Games.

"We've been there two days now ... the village quality has been very good the food halls excellent, actually the accommodation is possibly some of the best we've stayed in," the badminton star said.

"It was a little bit dirty when we arrived but the actual accommodation is some of the best compared with previous Commonwealth Games.

"They were just a little bit dusty at the start ... they've obviously done a lot of work in the last week."

Robertson's praise came after Australian athletes spoke highly of their new digs as they arrived through the week.

Athletes from South Africa, Canada and Pakistan have also given the accommodation the thumbs up, as have the likes of Scotland and New Zealand, whose officials were among the biggest critics prior to the Games.

"The toilets flush, the showers work, the beds are good, so we're happy," New Zealand hockey skipper Phil Burrows said.

Scottish wrestler Ashlea McManus said the village was bustling.

"You walk down the street and there are people of every other nation .. the atmosphere is great," she said.

Around 1200 athletes and officials were expected to join the 5500 odd already moved in to the village on Friday.

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit announced a theatre to screen movies for the village's inhabitants would open on Friday night.

Prince Charles to read Queen's message, President to open Games

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, will read out the Queen's message and the President of India, Pratiba Devisingh Patil, will deliver an address to signal the commencement of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 during the opening ceremony to be held here on Sunday.

The opening ceremony will be organized at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The Queen's baton that continued its journey through important places here on Saturday including the Games Village, will reach its final destination, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue of the opening ceremony tomorrow.

Prince of Wales, Prince Charles will receive the Baton and will read the Queen's message on this occasion.

President Pratiba Devisingh Patil will deliver an address to signal the commencement of the Games.

The opening ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. with hosts of the previous edition of the Games in 2006 Australia, leading the march past followed by other countries in alphabetical order while hosts India will be last with the country's only gold medalist in the Olympics, Abhinav Bhindra being its flag bearer.

The two-hour cultural extravaganza will highlight the rhythms and ragas of India and would be performed by over 7,000 artistes including the top names from the Indian music industry including A.R. Rahman and Shankar Mahadevan.

The highlight of the opening of the games will be an Aerostate that prop-up images of leaders, important monuments and themes representing various periods in Indian history.

This time the Commonwealth Games or, the CWG, to be held between October 3 -14, will witness the largest participation of sports persons in the history of the Commonwealth Games, as over 6,700 athletes and delegates from 71 nations will compete for the honors in 17 sporting events.
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