IOC Olympic Channel

source: www.reuters.com

6,000 athletes in DelhiWith nearly 6,000 athletes already in Delhi and hundreds more streaming in by the day, the capital was putting the final finishing touches to preparations for the biggest ever Commonwealth Games today.

The 12-day sports gathering for 71 mostly former British colonies was in crisis a week ago but organisers seemed to have put the worst of the rash of preparatory problems behind them on the eve of the opening ceremony.

The late scramble by the government to salvage the $6 billion event might still not be enough to eradicate the public relations disaster of the last few weeks but the 19th Commonwealth Games can at least boast the most competitors.

"We are pleased that Delhi 2010 will be the biggest ever Commonwealth Games," secretary general of the Games organising committee Lalit Bhanot said in a statement on Saturday.

"More than 5,800 athletes and officials have already arrived in Delhi. With more arrivals scheduled in the coming days, Delhi 2010 is well on the way to becoming the biggest in history."

The 2006 Melbourne Games had 5,766 athletes and officials, Bhanot said, and Delhi is expecting to host 6,700 before the Games close on Oct. 14.

The late arrivals will land in a city in the grip of huge security operation aimed at ensuring the safety of the athletes and spectators, 60,000 of whom will pack the refurbished Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium today.

Some 100,000 security personnel have been deployed around the city and MiG fighters and helicopter gunships will be on standby. Police have had leave cancelled and Delhi government has ordered shops and commercial establishments to remain closed on Sunday.

The Delhi Games, intended to showcase India's growing financial clout with a display of soft power, had threatened to become a national embarrassment before the government intervened.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party-led coalition government have been accused of failing to give the Games the due attention expected of a large international event.

The organisers had seven years to prepare but the shoddy construction and filthy accommodation forced some of the foreign contingents to either postpone their arrival or put up in city hotels.

The organisers renovated most of the existing stadiums and some of the venues, including hockey and cycling stadiums, have been hailed as world class.

A Metro extension and a new airport terminal will be the other legacies of the Games.

India's president Pratbha Patil and Prince Charles will declare open the Commonwealth Games this evening.
Yesterday ,the Trinidad and tobago flag was raised at the Games Village,following a brief welcome ceremony for the T&T contingent.

The T&T athletes are happy with the facilites and some have said that the standard is better than previous Commonwealth Games and in some aspects the Beijing Olympic Village.
However come Monday the focus will be on the medal quest. The immedaite objective is to better the 2006 medal haul of three bronze medals.

I have at my own expense attended every Carifta Games since 1994 (save 2004 and 2013) and one thing stands out. It is the fact that the countries with a strong tradition of inter-schools competition at the secondary level are consistently at the top of the medals table.

Read more: Inter-school athletics competitions crucial

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

 2010 Commonwealth Games gets underway ,England happy with Games VillageThe 2010 Commonwealth Games will officially start tomorrow with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.

The Games, the first to be staged in India, have been dogged by problems with the athletes' village being called "inhospitable" just last week.

However, Games officials have worked round the clock to ensure competitions start, as scheduled, on Monday.

Prince Charles will represent the Queen and arrived on Saturday.

His exact role had been a source of confusion with local media reports claiming Indian President Pratibha Patil would officially open the Games.

But Clarence House, after emphasising that both would have roles in the ceremony, has confirmed the Prince will read out the Queen's baton message before declaring the Games open.


On Saturday, there were concerns a number of teams could boycott the opening ceremony or send a token presence because they were unhappy athletes who were set to compete on Monday would not be able to leave early.

However after talks with organisers, athletes can now exit the ceremony any time up to 30 minutes before the end.

And another row is looming in netball with technical officials unhappy over security, uniforms and transport.

It was feared the event would not start as scheduled on Monday but competition venue spokeswoman Saumya Maurya told The Associated Press there had been some issues but "they will be sorted out".

About 7,000 athletes and support staff from 71 nations are expected in the Indian capital for the 19th staging of the Games.

However, construction delays, corruption scandals, a dengue fever outbreak, the collapse of a footbridge near the main stadium and a suspected militant attack on two foreign tourists have blighted the build-up.

The Games were further put at risk last week when several countries, including England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand expressed their concerns over the poor state of the athletes' village.

Some athletes had their departures to Delhi delayed while others were put up in hotels as more 4,000 people, who were drafted in to work round the clock, made sure the village was hospitable.


The cost of the Games is now estimated to have risen as high as $6bn (£3.8bn) - 60 times the original estimate when they were awarded in 2003.

But India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram has promised the money will deliver "foolproof" security.

Upto 17,000 paramilitary troopers have reinforced the 80,000 member of the police force on duty in the city.

"Turn your attention toward the Games, enjoy the Games," said Chidambaram.

On Friday, England's chef de mission Craig Hunter said: "We're certainly in a much much better place than we were.


"Our new arrivals are saying it's not as bad as we thought it would be. There are still some issues, and there'll be issues right until we leave, but the good thing is there's more rapid reaction to them and we can address them pretty much straight away."

England's flag bearer Nathan Robertson , a veteran of four Commonwealth Games, also praised the facilities for athletes.

"The village quality has been very good, the food hall's excellent -- actually the accommodation is possibly some of the best we've stayed in," said the badminton player.

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