Thursday, October 14, 2010

Glasgow calling after Delhi’s Perfect ’10

After hitting the high-notes in its New Delhi edition, the Commonwealth Games move to the Scottish Highlands in 2014, and the Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the first look of Glasgow’s aspirations as host nation, and ended as the most spectacular segment of the closing ceremony - perhaps owing to its novelty for the Indian audience.

Rest assured when India toasts to its succesful conduct of the Games and retires for a sleepy night, the ten-minute presentation by 352 performers of Thursday, will put an end to the perennial joke on their attire by the cacklers —Why do Scottish men wear Skirts?

Matching India’s blingy colours with their own multi-hued tartan kilts, a vibrant modern one with sporty uppers,a lone piper with the sing-songy bagpipe took centrestage as the baton was passed on to the Scottish hosts. The merry lot then put on show some of its iconic sites with the help of some hand-carried silver giant inflated bloats - the Arc Bridge over River Clyde, the Armadillo auditorium the Celtic Knot and finally their mythical Loch Ness Monster —with perhaps the Nessie replacing our Shera in four years.

A kilometre and 800 metres cloth was used to create the different coloured labyrinths and mazes and finally the blue and Saltire Scottish flag, even as Delhi applauded the 2014 teaser.

The last time the Games were held in Scotland — at Edinburgh — India, alongwith other African and Caribbean nations had stayed away for political reasons at the height of South Africa’s apartheid troubles. However, the 2010 hosts will look to mount a massive challenge on the medals table in another four years when they visit Glasgow - a city known for its legendary football rivalries between Celtics and Rangers and in pop culture for ABBA’s Super Trouper rhythm.

The Scottish contingent have been a merry lot in their omnipresent white and blue gear and hat-props, and a little teaser of their sports anthem ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ got the rugby stadium tapping their feet when their sevens side took to the pitch. On Thursday, the entire chant-song hummed at football’s Hampden Park and rugby’s Murrayfield Park blared to a dazzled Delhi audience. Amongst other things though, Glasgow will drop tennis from its schedule, so Andy Murray will not make it to the next Games either.

Commonwealth Games closing ceremony includes a game of tag – and lots of security

The closing ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games began Thursday in spectacular fashion at the Indian capital's Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

Just as New Delhi was starting to get used to the rhythm of life as host of the Commonwealth Games, the party has wound down.

The closing ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games began Thursday in spectacular fashion at the Indian capital's Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

Commemorations started with a celebration of traditional Indian sports such as kabbadi, which is essentially an evolved version of tag.

Spectators, however, could be forgiven for confusing such sports with combat training, as thousands of knife- and spear-wielding warrior-dancers and fire-twirlers moved around the grounds.

And, much like the opening ceremonies, an estimated crowd of 60,000 people was watching it all from the stands.

The creative director of the spectacle was filmmaker Bharatbala, who planned the ceremonies for 18 months. The combined cost of the opening and closing ceremonies was said to be in the region of $67 million. Some 6,000 performers took part.

Security, as expected, was extremely tight, not just at the stadium but across Delhi. In fact, Thursday was a public holiday in the city, with most markets, shops, offices, schools, and bars and restaurants closed. Authorities were keen to avoid tempting fate by allowing gathering places for crowds. Road traffic in central New Delhi was restricted.

There were about 7,500 security personnel at the stadium, while snipers, commandos, and specially trained paramilitaries were in place.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the guest of honor at the closing ceremony – something that has raised the hackles of many Tamils. More than 100 people were arrested Thursday in the southern state of Tamil Nadu after staging a protest against Rajapaksa's presence. They said that India should take a firmer stance against the Sri Lankan government over alleged human rights violations against the island nation's Tamil population during the long-running civil war.

But Tamil Nadu is far from New Delhi, where residents are now either heaving a sigh of relief that normal life can resume, or lamenting the end of the biggest – and most chaotic – party the city has ever known.

Saina, Jwala & Ashwini take gold tally to 38

There’s life beyond self-doubt. Even for a country that has suffered chronic bouts of that dark feeling often when the words Commonwealth Games were uttered these last few months. Fitting then that it was three  extremely self-assured sportswomen from India — seasoned shuttle-sharks Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta, and a third, Ashwini Ponappa, emerging as Jwala’s finest understudy over the last 10 days — who guided the country into that realm of supreme confidence and pride, that only a sporting medal could guarantee.
No dazzling pyrotechnics at the closing ceremony or Incredible India assertions prior to that held the same power of the two gold medals, coveted on the final day. Any hue lesser of the medal, any effort less on part of the badminton players, any shuttle less retrieved would have left the nagging feeling of some unfinished business to these Games.

As it turned out, India’s athletes  settled for nothing less than gold in the last competitive events of the Games, playing out of their skins, and dwelling on that nucleus of their character that marks out the two Hyderabadis, Saina and Jwala, and the baby of the team, Bangalorean Ashwini, as the fiery, fearless young Indians.       

The final day of the Commonwealth Games had thrown an open challenge to the hosts—that of overhauling England who had 37 gold medals for a second-place finish on the medal’s tally. India were one short with 36 at the start of the day, and as anguishing images of the hockey loss were beamed in, the Siri Fort stadium and the two precious gold medals it held suddenly became citadels that needed to be defended with grit and honour.

The trio aren’t mechanised robots though, automated to excellence at a switch of button. So a fair amount of sweat, some jangled nerve-endings and plenty of adrenaline—whipped up undoubtedly by the crowd—went into securing medals from a discipline that had suddenly acquired urgency and immediacy owing to the shoot-off with England.

There was no dearth of demons to conquer either. Nehwal admits she still gets nightmares of the Olympic quarterfinal loss that denied her a medal. She’d left this venue six months ago after going out in tears from an Asian championships semifinal.

Jwala hasn’t had the smoothest of run-ups to the Games with endless speculation about her personal life, besides a greenhorn partner by her side, who needed support more than she’d offer. And Ashwini simply didn’t want to be the one spoiling the party because of jumpy nerves.    

While Ashwini went retrieving the flying shuttles at the stroke of noon, whacking them back at express speed and with strength that doesn’t show in her petite frame, Jwala put her wrist wizardry to its ultimate elasticity-test returning serves and smashes at the net, as they downed some dogged resistance from the Singaporeans. Securing a historic women’s doubles gold medal for India in badminton, they had taken India’s cause forward as badminton’s distant venue—hitherto quiet—suddenly became part of an Indian march to out-medal England.

When Saina came for her final match, India needed the one gold, and the desperation crept into her game as she went for some anxious winners. Forty-five minutes on, she was staring shockingly at a scoreline that saw her match-point down at 21-20 in the second set in what she later labelled the toughest final of her career.

Self-doubt struck all the tiers of the capacity stadium en masse, but not the core of the heart where it was kept at bay by her coach’s relentless encouragement and her own deep inner-strength, celebrated in fancy words by writers, but never tested in front of a home-crowd in the Capital.

Pulling winners out of her armoury of drop-shots and running for every net-flick even as her opponent increased the doggedness-stakes, Saina launched counters, plotting every point in mini-seconds and on her rushing feet pushing the match into a decider with a roar that she usually reserves for the end of the match. Keeping the momentum going, Saina attacked the Malaysian on her far back-hand, and then clung onto a lead like a rare icecream cone, when coach Gopichand allows her.

When Mew Choo Wong hit the shuttle long giving Saina a 19-21, 23-21, 21-13 win, it was an entire nation celebrating the return from a brink, celebrating how self-doubt could be conquered in sport. Apt that CWG’s poster girl should serve up the final dessert.

India's `Olympic Dream' Distant as Commonwealth Games Cross Finishing Line

New Delhi’s Commonwealth Games ended with martial art battles and a laser show after a record haul of gold medals for India and last-minute fixes to venues rescued an event that had threatened a national embarrassment.

During a two-hour closing ceremony that also featured army marching bands wearing tartan capes and leopard skins, and a dance tribute involving 2,010 children, the games flag was handed to officials from Glasgow, host to the 2014 event. Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the local games organizing committee, thanked officials for overcoming “serious roadblocks. We have learned a lot.”

Empty stadiums early in the event and repairs to the athletics track after the opening ceremony gave way to ticket sales of about 50,000 a day as India won 101 medals, 38 of them gold, to lie second in the overall standings behind Australia. India reached the final of men’s hockey, a national favorite, before being thrashed 8-0 in today’s final.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell today praised the “very high standard of venues.” While transport and ticketing problems had to be fixed during competition, there “is no doubt that the overall image of the games has been good,” he said. “Delhi has performed.”

Photographs on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s website showing unclean bathrooms at the athletes’ village, missed construction deadlines, the collapse of a stadium footbridge, the resignation of officials for “financial irregularities” and warnings of terrorist threats forced Scotland, Canada and New Zealand to delay their departure for Delhi.

‘Miles to Go’

Those failings exposed the progress needed before India can fulfill its ambition to host the Olympic Games, said Boria Majumdar, a sports historian and the author of “Sellotape Legacy: Delhi and the Commonwealth Games.”

“The way the whole thing unfolded -- the lead up, the infrastructure delays -- shows we have miles to go before we can mount a serious Olympic bid,” Majumdar said in an interview.

The Indian Olympic Association had said a successful event this year might spur a bid for the 2020 Olympics. “I have a dream of bringing the Olympics” to India, Kalmadi said at a Oct. 12 press conference in the capital. “When, I don’t know.”

Last-minute work on the track and infield at the 60,000- seat athletics venue will “have certainly brought up an amber or a red light” with the International Olympic Committee, said Ian Henry, director of the Centre for Olympic Studies and Research at the U.K.’s Loughborough University, on Oct. 13. “The report card at the end of the day is a very positive one for the manner in which the games were conducted.”

Singh’s Inheritance

The Oct. 3-14 event, held every four years and featuring 71 countries and territories, most of them former British colonies, is dwarfed by the 204 nations who took part in Beijing’s successful $70-billion Olympics in 2008.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who inherited the Commonwealth Games from his predecessor and had to rally senior ministers last month to ensure they went ahead, spent $4.6 billion on arenas, roads and power to highlight a “confident” new India.

Instead, 97 percent of respondents to a Sept. 23 online newspaper poll believed the games, and the role of Singh’s government, had damaged the country’s image. Moody’s Analytics Inc. said that investors may reassess the attractiveness of India’s $1.3 trillion economy after preparations foundered.

Fennell on Sept. 25 expressed his disappointment with Delhi’s organizing committee, saying at a press conference that the lack of preparedness had hurt the country’s reputation. “I would hope at the end of all this, India would have learnt a great lesson,” he said then.

Sick Swimmers

After a spectacular opening ceremony that won global acclaim, early events were poorly attended, forcing Kalmadi to open more ticket booths and consider allowing school children in for free. When a dozen members of Australia’s swimming team fell ill, competition and practice pools were probed. Tests showed nothing unpleasant lurking in the water.

“Patently problems were magnified in the Western media,” Loughborough University’s Henry said. Organizers need to tell the world they understand the need for a more “rigorous approach to staging major events,” he said.

A bigger competition in India is unlikely to be “on the anvil,” Mahesh Rangarajan, a New Delhi-based political analyst, said in a phone interview. Singh’s “Congress party’s priorities are elsewhere: socio-economic reconstruction, creating jobs, improving education,” he said.

The cost of the games is almost half what the government will spend this year on a rural jobs program that has benefited more than 41 million village households. India has 828 million people living on less than $2 a day, the World Bank estimates.

Record Inflows

India’s economy, which has grown at an average 8.5 percent in the past five years and that the International Monetary Fund expects to expand 9.7 percent this year, may prove more resilient than Moody’s forecast.

Foreign funds have purchased Indian stocks valued at a record $21.83 billion this year, lured by the potential of Asia’s third-largest economy.

“People in the international investing community already know the difficulties of putting their money in India,” said Laveesh Bhandari, director at New Delhi-based Indicus Analytics Pvt., a research group. Despite its handicaps, “India is still lucrative,” he said.

Meet the first family of the Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games now have a first family  -- in Australia. Alana Boyd won a gold medal in pole vault at the Delhi Games, emulating the medal-winning performance of her parents over two decades back.

Alana Boyd, 26, is the only child of two Games champions to win her own gold medal at the track and field competition at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, The Australian reported.

The pole vaulter repeated the feat of her mother Denise Robertson who won the 200m at the 1978 Edmonton Games, and her father Ray who won the pole vault at the 1982 Brisbane Games.

The proud parents watched Alana receive the gold medal.

Alana admitted that she had felt the pressure of public expectation as she was the child of famous parents, but not any more.

She said her parents had always been supportive.

"They are fantastic parents, they couldn't have done more. They are great," she was quoted as saying.

She denied that her gold medal-winning genes gave her an unfair advantage and added: "I am sure there are a lot of others out there who have good genes, and it's not just genes, it's hard work as well."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010 closing ceremony: An extravaganza awaits

THE WORLD was bowled over by the Commonwealth Games 2010 opening ceremony. However, the spectators will have a feast with the closing ceremony of the games on Thursday when Jawaharlal Nehru stadium will be once again lit up with the traditional flavours.

Although the preparations for the closing ceremony are going hand in hand with the events, the closing ceremony will boast of a mélange of elements from 5,000 years of Indian culture and heritage, the closing ceremony will be more dynamic, and will emphasise modern and contemporary India.

"The closing ceremony will be a spectacular mass song and dance celebration. The closing is all about celebration. It is going to be very youthful, just like a hip hop party for all including athletes, volunteers and huge celebration time for everyone", said Viraf Sarkari, Director Wizcraft International Entertainment which is an integral part of core team that also developed concepts for opening ceremony along with Organizing Committee.

The closing ceremony will be hosted on multiple stages with spectacular song and dance celebration with a colourful laser show with India’s martial arts as the main part of the show. The main theme of the event is ‘Universal Love’. Around 2,500 school students will go to perform with 7,000 artists from across India.

Opening ceremony's star attraction Aerostat, a helium balloon will now be used in a better way; the mirrors at the belly of the balloon, which failed to play huge role in the opening, will create a magical effect. All the players will walk in a mixed manner without making any distinction of countries, which is purposefully to display the whole world as a family.

Just like the opening ceremony, the closing event will be devoid of any performance by any actors. However, the Bollywood quotient will be added by the presence of singers like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan and Kailash Kher, among others. Games mascot Shera was absent from the main opening ceremony but he will be present during closing ceremony.

The troupe from Glasgow will also put up a performance similar to what India did in the Melbourne Games 2006, the closing ceremony here will see Scotland showcase a slice of its offering as a teaser of the Commonwealth Games 2014. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his wife will be the chief guest at the ceremony.

At the end of the closing ceremony, the Commonwealth Games Federation’s flag would be officially handed over to representatives of 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The tickets are priced at Rs 50,000, Rs 20,000, Rs 4,000, and Rs 750.

India to play against Australia in CWG Games hockey final

IT CAN be said that it was an unforgettable Tuesday when Indian men's hockey team stole the heart of all their fans. They were looking perfect, they were in rhythm and they dominated at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium. India defeated England by 5-4 in the tie-breaker to reach into the finals of the Commonwealth Games 2010.

During the 70 minutes of the game, both India and English team were 3-3. Once Indian team were behind 3-1 at the fully packed Dhyan Chand National Stadium. Fans were cheering for India and in the last 15 minutes of the play India never gave any chance to their opponent and scored two goals.

In the extra time both India and England were not able to score any goal. In the tie-breaker India's goal keeper Bharat Chetri saved Glenn Kirkham's penalty shot and secured the berth for final against defending Commonwealth Games champion Australia on October 14.

Meanwhile, on the ninth day of the Commonwealth Games 2010, Indian shooters Heena Sidhu and Annuraj Singh won 31st gold for the country in Women's 10m Air Pistol (Pairs) event, whereas, in the Women's 4×400m (Relay) event, Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji, & Mandeep Kaur bagged 32nd gold for the country.

In the Women's 50m Rifle Prone (Singles) event, Tejaswini Sawant and in the Men's 25m Standard Pistol (Pairs) event, Samresh Jung and Chandrasekhar Chaudhary won silver medals for the country.

In the badminton event, world third seeded badminton player Saina Nehwal reached into the women's single final. In the Women's Doubles event, Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta also qualified for the gold medal event at the Commonwealth Games 2010.

Saina Nehwal creates history, enters badminton finals

History was made at the Siri Fort Complex in front of home crowd, when she easily defeated opponent Susan Egelstaff of Scotland with straight set win of 21-10 and 21-17.

INDIA's BADMINTON sensation and world No. 3, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian woman to enter the finals of the Commonwealth Games badminton event. History was made at the Siri Fort Complex in front of home crowd, when she easily defeated Susan Egelstaff of Scotland in straight sets 21-10 and 21-17.

The spectators' cheered for her as she stepped onto the court which was the last game of the day. Because of her unforced errors, Saina lost the initial points and the crowd also fell silent. However, the match transformed into an entirely different level as she recomposed herself and took to the winning stride.

She snatched the first set in just 12 minutes from Susan. However, the next game saw Susan pressing force as she started advancing which was powered by by some uncharacteristic mistakes committed by Saina at the net.

Fear gripped the home crowd when Susan took a 17-16 lead from Saina but with maximum levels of perseverance she advanced with a five pointer to enter the finals.

In doubles match Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa also moved into the final with a 12- 21, 21- 13, 21- 11 win over Kate Wilson Smith and He Ting Tiang of Australia.

Saina will meet Malaysian second seed Wong Mew Chew in the final.“It is great to be in the final of the Commonwealth Games," Saina said proudly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Indian men win two more bronze in athletics

India today took control of the athletics events by bagging two bronze medals for the hosts in the Javelin men's and the tripple jump finals in the 19th Commonwealth Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today.

India's Kashinath Naik finished third by throwing the javelin to a distance of 74.29m.

The 29-year-old Indian athlete followed Stuart Farquhar of New Zealand, who scored 78.15m.

The gold was bagged by Jarrod Bannister of Australia, with a score of 81.71m.

In the tripple jump event, India's Renjith Maheswary made a national record by leaping a distance of 17.07m.

The gold was won by Tosin Oke of Nigeria with a score of 17.16m.

Silver medallist in the event, Lucien Mamba Schlick, also made a national record by scoring 17.14m.

Medals rain for India on day 10 of CWG

On a day when medals rained for India at the 19th Commonwealth Games, history was created when Indian athletes won their first medals on the track since the legendary Milkha Singh won gold more than half a century ago.

India, who had publicly declared their target of claiming the second spot on the medals
tally before the start of the Games, moved closer towards their goal with a haul of 32 gold, 25 silver and 32 bronze medals for a total of 89 medals.

With just two days to go before the Games comes to an end on October 14, the hosts are at the second spot among the 71 participating nations, ahead of England who have gathered 30 gold so far.

The English are however, ahead as far as the total number of medals are concerned and they can yet upset India's party over the next couple of days.

The athletes were the toast of the entire country as they bagged medals across several events to break a 52-year-old jinx and upset Milkha Singh's pre-Games prediction that the hosts will return empy handed from the track and field disciplines.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium - the main venue of the Commonwealth Games - was the place to be as the frenzied crowd and loudspeakers blaring out popular Indian tunes gelled together to create an electrifying atmosphere.

The entire stadium swung to the tune of A R Rahman's 'Jai Ho' as India claimed five medals in athletics, including a gold.

Deafening roars and wild cheers from thousands of pectators supported the athletes as they took the Indian medal tally in the athletics events to 12.

After the 52-year-old gold medal drought in athletics was broken by Krishna Poonia who won a gold in the women's discus throw yesterday, the Indian women 4x400m relay team bagged another gold for the hosts.

Indian athletes Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur finished first as they clocked 3:27.77s to claim the gold.

India's Geetha Satti, Srabani Nanda, Priya P K and Jyothi Manjunath clocked 45.25s to stand at the third position in 4x100m women's relay.

Complimenting their female counterparts, India's Rahamatulla Molla, Suresh Sathya, Shameer Mon Manzile and Md Abdul Qureshi clocked 38.89s to win another bronze for the hosts in the 4x100m men's relay.

In the men's triple jump finals, India's Renjith Maheswary stood third to bag a bronze with a jump of 17.07m. The effort also fetched him a national record.

The fourth bronze of the day for India came from Kashinath Naik in the men's javelin throw.

He threw the javelin to a distance of 74.29m to stand at the third position.

Vikas Shive Gowda and Prajusha Maliakkal won silver in men's discus throw and women long jump respectively. Yesterday, Harminder Singh and Kavita Raut had bagged bronze medal each in 20km walk race and 10,000m women's race respectively.

In shooting, on a day of mixed fortunes for India, Heena Sidhu and Anu Raj Singh struck gold in women's 10m air pistol Pairs event but favourites Gagan Narang and Tejaswini Sawant failed to bag the expected yellow medals.

Women's pistol pair of Heena Sidhu and Annu Raj Singh were lucky winner as they had better scores in the third and fourth series as count-back was necessitated to break the three-way deadlock for the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Heena fired a series of 96, 94, 97, 97 for a total of 384 while Annu shot 92, 95, 95, 93 as the two posted 759 with 21 'bulls eyes'.

Australia and Canada were also on 759, but Canada had to settle for bronze having scored 14 bulls eyes. But Australia had the same number of 10s as India and only in the count-back did India win the gold medal.

Melbourne Commonwealth Games' best athlete, Samresh Jung won his first medal of Delhi CWG when he and his partner CK Chaudhary took the silver medal in the men's 25 standard fire pistol.

Jung shot 384 with a series of 195, 183, 183, but Chaudhary misfired forcing India to settle for the silver. Singapore won the gold with Bin Gai and Lip Meng Poh scoring a total of 1116 against the total of 1103.

The Indian hockey team added the cherry on the cake when they defeated England 8-7 via tie-breaker to set up a title clash with Australia in the men's hockey competition.

Indians who trailed 1-3 till the 57th minute, cameback so strongly that Englishmen were left clueless and wondeing what hit them as the hosts drew level at 3-3 by the 59th minute.

As the teams failed to score anymore in the remaining regulation period, 15 minutes of extra time was played, which also failed to break the deadlock leading to the tie breaker.

The hosts converted all their five strokes and then goalkeeper Bharat Chetri emerged most unlikely hero as he blocked Australia's third stroke taken by Glenn Kirkham and paved way for India to move into the final of this competition for the first time.

For India, who were levelled 1-1 at halftime, the goal scorers were Sarvanjit Singh (two) and Vikram Pillay (one).

For England, Ashley Jackson (2) and Simon Mantell (one) scored.

In the tie breaker, Sarvanjit, Vikram Pillay, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa and Shivender singh converted their strokes for the host.

For England, Richard Smith, Richard Mantell, Ashley Jackson, Simon Mantell converted while Glenn Kirkham failed to beat the goalkeeper.

As India stormed into the final leaving the Englishmen crestfallan and in tears, Indian players celebrated the win, backed by thousands of their supporters who danced and partied wildly to the sound of defeaning Bhangra music.

Meanwhile, keeping alive Indian hopes of winning a medal in table tennis, top paddler Sarath Kamal annihilated Liang Ma of Singapore to reach semifinals of the mens singles, at the Yamuna Sports Complex.

Soumyadeep Roy also kept the tri-colour fluttering as he crushed top seed Cia Xiao Li of Singapore to enter the men's singles semifinals.

Among the women paddlers, Mouma Das and Poulomi Ghatak also reached the last four stage.

Delhi Review Will Be Basis for the 2012 Olympics

AN evaluation of Uganda's performance at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games will provide basis of the country's preparations for the 2012 London Olympics, James Bakama reports.

"We have to seriously study what went wrong and find remedies," said education and sports state minister Charles Bakkabulindi.

Bakkabulindi was responding to reports of lack of allowances and equipment in the Ugandan camp in New Delhi. There were also complaints of team officials' relatives taking up athletes' places.

Bakkabulindi conceded that there was a delay in payment of allowances but he attributed it to bureaucracy in India's banking system. He explained that team funds amounting to about $100,000 were wired to the account of Uganda's embassy.

"Accessing the money from India was not easy. They even wanted to give it to us in Indian rupees but we refused," he said, however adding that by the time he left every Ugandan had been paid.

He accepted that cyclists delayed to get their bicycles but insisted that other requirements like the kit were not in shortage. "If there was a problem, it was merely in sizes but not availability of a kit."

He described the trip as a big success for Uganda. Besides Moses Kipsiro's two gold medals, Uganda also won bids to host the Commonwealth parliamentarians meeting and the Games federation general assembly.

Heena, Annu trigger happy - Gagan Narang’s hope of fifth win shattered

Rifleman Gagan Narang’s hopes of bagging six gold medals in the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games remained unfulfilled, when he failed to win the 50metre pairs event on Wednesday.

Though the day began on a bright note for the hosts, at the Karni Singh range, with Heena Sidhu, Annu Raj Singh winning the record 31st gold medal for India in the 10m air pistol pairs event, the defeat of Narang and Samresh Jung in their respective pairs events dampened the spirit.

In the women’s 50metre prone event, Scotland’s Jen McIntosh won the gold with a Games record of 597. Tejaswini Sawant, the world champion in this event, got the silver with a score of 594 and Welsh’s Johanne Brekke settled for the bronze with 593 points.

“My personal best is 597 and I was competing against it and still fell short by three points. So, I am disappointed. If I had a bit more patience, I think I could have easily won the gold,” said Tejaswini.

“I was warned about the strong winds. After the third series, I became a bit over-conscious. Normally, I don’t attach much importance to the wind. But today (Tuesday), I don’t know why I was thinking so much about it coaches also told me not to bother much about it,” she said.

In the men’s 25metre standard pistol, Jung (561) and C.K.Chaudhary (542) won the silver with a score of 1103.

However, with four more finals to be decided on the last day of the competition on Wednesday, India, with 14 gold medals in shooting, have an outside chance of taking their tally of yellow metals to beyond 16, a figure that they achieved in the Manchester Games, four years ago.

Tuesday’s results also ended Narang’s chance of overcoming “goldfinger” Samresh Jung’s mark of five gold medals in Melbourne. Narang, who has four gold, can still match the pistol hero if he manages to win the 50m prone individual event.

In the women’s 10metre air pistol, India, Australia and Canada were tied for the gold with 759 points. Canada got the bronze on the basis of lesser number of perfect 10s. They shot 14, while India and Australia had 21 each. India bagged the gold on the basis of count-back.

Heena (384) and Annu (375) clinched the 14th gold medal from the shooting range. The silver went to Australian shooters Dina Aspandiyarova (384) and Pamela McKenzie (375) and Canadian duo Dorothy Ludwig (380) and Lynda Hare (379) settled for the bronze.

Rebecca Adlington: 'In India I just felt selfish. I'll never moan again'

Sometimes, the most balanced personality can be a split one. As Rebecca Adlington acknowledges, most of her young life has been spent in "a bubble" – a numbing, obsessive schedule of training that reduces every different pool, Doha or Delhi, to the same, daily ducking-stool test of endurance and belief as the one where it all began, back in Mansfield. And yet, within these cramped horizons, she has discovered, or preserved, a sense of perspective somehow uncompromised by an almost pathological determination to swim faster than anyone else.

These twin strengths enable Adlington to reflect on an exotic experience at the Commonwealth Games with an equanimity that appears to have eluded many others. Yes, it doubtless helps that she won two gold medals to match the pair she won at the Beijing Olympics, when aged just 19, again at 400 metres and 800m.

Now, of course, all lanes lead to London 2012, and she paid an immediate visit to the half-built Aquatic Centre on her return from India. Judging from some of the reports out of Delhi, you almost expected her to rate this sprawling building site as already a superior facility. For Adlington, however, the bellyache she shared with so many other athletes in Delhi was only a noun – emphatically not a verb. Having peered beyond the bubble, she has come back refreshed in humility as well as pride.

"We had a 40-minute bus journey every day to the pool, and I couldn't believe it," she said. "If you see someone homeless here, it just makes you feel lucky. But in India I just felt selfish. I've never seen anything like it, it just shocked me. I thought: 'Oh my God, I'm never going to moan ever again.' Every time the bus passed down the street it would make your heart stop. It was a massive eye-opener for every single person on the bus. Someone mentioned the stomach stuff. And I was like: 'Seriously! You've got a bit of belly issues... just look out of the window.' As soon as you saw that, I think everyone just got on with it."

Back in the bubble, though – surely that was another matter? How can an elite athlete, trained for a peak, fail to be physically or mentally debilitated by sickness? "Oh, there were a lot of people worse off than myself," Adlington said. "Without going into too much detail, no matter what you ate, you were going to the toilet 10 minutes later. So it was just a case of trying not to aggravate it, while trying to actually refuel. I was living off Imodium, and the team doctor was brilliant. It must have been the hardest week of his life. But we all expected to get it, we were all prepared, and it wasn't as if it was just us."

Of course, it is precisely the ability to isolate yourself from extraneous distractions – and they can scarcely be less extraneous – that in turn separates elite athletes from the rest. To Adlington, the pool will always turn whine into water. "No matter what mood I'm in, if I'm angry, I'm upset, you dive in the pool and you just forget about everything," she said. "It's the only place I feel comfortable, the only place I feel myself, where I feel I belong. I'm a bit more of a weirdo when I get out of the pool!

"And in a race most of us are so focused, so up for it, that no matter what else is going on in your life, you just switch off. So I'm not going to let a little belly thing hold me back when I've trained the whole year for this."

Perhaps the ultimate test of this zone will not be adversity, but expectation, when she competes in 2012. "Obviously, for London, we're going to feel pressure," she said. "We're all going to be in the spotlight. At the same time, with everyone cheering for you, you just get involved in the atmosphere. In Rome last year, I raced against [Federica] Pellegrini and even I felt the buzz, though the crowd were cheering for her. No matter what I come away with, a home Olympics is just my absolute dream."

After disappointing herself at the European Championships, Adlington is encouraged that she proved so at home in a quasi-Olympic environment in Delhi – sharing an athletes' village again, and watching other sports. "It was such a positive week," she said. "I've learnt I have the confidence to pick myself up when something hasn't gone right. I just raced my own race, relaxed and enjoyed it like I used to. So I think it's a massive step, for London, and a massive thing also that the year has gone so well for the British – we're definitely becoming a nation to watch in the pool. We walk in, and people notice us. People are scared of us. We're just getting better and better, and when you put in a home crowd as well, God knows what we can achieve."

In Delhi, Adlington again dominated the field from the start – always a strategy instructive of the fires within: "Thou shalt not pass". Where does it come from, this ferocious message to her pursuers? With her cheerful, unpretentious demeanour, Adlington seems immune to egotism. In the pool, however, the mermaid apparently becomes a shark. In a recent conversation with her coach, Bill Furniss, she was affronted when he told her: "Some people just can't handle you." He had to explain that it was intended as a compliment.

"I am the most driven person," she admitted. "I want to make something of my life. I'm so lucky that I love what I do, and I'm not going to waste that. I don't want to look back and regret things. I can be difficult to deal with, because I won't let people stand in my way. Sometimes I'll come across as a bitch, but I don't care – at the end of the day, I want to achieve something. You can clash, if someone is not as driven. I get angry when I see such talented people, not giving everything. I think: 'You've all the talent in the world, you can achieve something so rare, and it's just wasted.' I'm not as naturally talented as some people. I have to work hard every single day. And when I see someone doing well, when they don't work as hard, I do get frustrated, because they could be so amazing."

There it is again – the paradox of this pleasant, everyday young woman from Mansfield. She permits only the quietest hint of her distinction, in the flags of St George painted proudly on her fingernails. Becky Adlington remains scrupulously down-to-earth. Then she exchanges terra firma for water – and, suddenly and literally, she is in her element: one of the best in history, a serial record-breaker.

"You do have two personalities: one when you're competing, one when you're not," she said. "I think it's hard for people not involved in sport to be around me, because they don't understand that. I've got the rest of my life to go out and drink, to travel, to ski. People think I miss out on being a normal 21-year-old, but at the end of the day I'm getting so much more from doing something I truly love. I actually think it's them that are missing out."

Rebecca Adlington is supporting Spots v Stripes, Cadbury's campaign to get the nation playing in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics.

Rebecca Adlington

Age 21

The 800m freestyle world record holder has won six major international gold medals in her career.

2 Adlington's golds at the 2010 Delhi games. She became the first British swimmer to win an Olympic gold since 1988 and the first double champion since 1908.

Chief of 2014 Commonwealth Games says Glasgow will be ready two years early

THE facilities for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 will be in place two years before the event gets under way, chief executive John Scott has insisted.

Glasgow organisers are using the slogan "We're ready - are you?" to indicate their confidence that the completion of new stadiums and the renovation of others will be made well within the required time frame.

It is a state of preparedness in stark contrast to the situation in Delhi, where some facilities were only just finished on time and others are still not fully operational.

Mr Scott did not make the contrast explicitly, but he did not have to.

One of the key facets of Glasgow's bid for the Games was the fact that so many venues - Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park among others - were already built, and that others only needed renovation, which could be done with some time to spare.

"I am extremely confident that Glasgow is going to put on an outstanding Games," Mr Scott said yesterday at Scotland House, the team's base in a New Delhi hotel.

"We are a different environment (from Delhi].

"This (Scotland] is a country that has had experience of sport for a long time.

"It's a country that had a lot of its venues already in place, therefore has had some experience of staging this kind of event.

"We didn't have the scale of infrastructure and ambition that Delhi had - Delhi not only has built all these new sports venues, it has put in a metro system and an incredible new road system.

"Good for them. They wanted to move this city and this country forward.

"We are also having some legacy impact (on Glasgow]. There's the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, the national indoor sports arena, the entertainment arena.

"We are very fortunate that we are well on track. All of them will be complete - all of the capital projects will be complete by 2012 - which will give us that wonderful window between the end of 2012 and the Games to prepare.

"We will have an opportunity to test those events. We have already secured the world junior track cycling championships for 2013.

"That will test that venue at that level of competition. We are in a very good place to be well prepared."

One important reason for that preparedness, according to Mr Scott, is the fact that London will host the Olympics two years before the Glasgow Games.

The two organising committees have already signed an agreement to work together in a number of practical ways.

"We will benefit hugely from London. London is two years prior to us: that is a big, multi-sport games in a British context. We've got excellent relationships.

"Don't forget: Glasgow is an Olympic city.

It's part of that planning."

Colleagues of Mr Scott's have been here as part of the Commonwealth Games Federation's observer programme, hoping to learn from what has gone right in the Indian capital as well as what has gone wrong.

From the feedback that Mr Scott has been given so far, he believes the sheer novelty of an event such as this has been responsible for some of the problems.

"All Games have their problems and challenges, and Delhi has had some challenges.

"The big challenge for India is that it doesn't have a familiarity with many of these sports.

"This is a sleeping giant as far as sport is concerned.

"I'm not here to criticise Delhi. Our role is to deliver a Games that fits firmly with our stated ambition.

"Glasgow is a city that is familiar with events and has done many events before, but it has never done anything of this scale.

"That's why it's important that we remain aware and cannot be complacent. You can learn from any event you go to."

The Commonwealth Games needs its Tempest in a Turban

An Indian athlete in Wales was first to register in me a youthful awareness of the Commonwealth Games. Of course, it still cloaked itself in the grand imperial garb of Empire Games 52 years ago when only the sixth meet of the quadrennial series was held in the midsummer of 1958 at the old Arms Park in Cardiff.

All matters Empire were still loftily haughty, and snootily disdained was the metric measure of the Olympics. Serious business was still measured in feet, yards and inches. Thus it was in the classic 440 yards one-lap sprint in which, out of the blue and alongside the Taff, did the bearded, blistering Sikh, Milkha Singh, spread-eagle the field to have the next day's Daily Express eulogising "The Tempest in a Turban".

Two years later, Milkha was back in Britain to win the AAA's 440 yards title at White City as warm-up for the Rome Olympics, where he was fourth by a blink in an almost blanket finish in (still) the best-ever 400m final. The three medallists (an American, a German and a South African) were fractions ahead of him and the first two broke the world record. More than half a century later, it was terrific to catch a snatch of a BBC interview with him this Monday afternoon just before his young compatriot Tintu Luka failed in her brave but barmy frontrunning attempt to win the women's 800 metres final ("Alas for the bat out of hell", commiserated Denise Lewis).

As a teenager Milkha had lost his parents and three elder brothers in the horrors of 1947 partition but after Rome he was a permanent hero to Kashmir where, to encourage Indian athletes, he personally offered the equivalent in rupees of £3,000 to anyone who could break his Indian record of 45.73 seconds. It was all of 38 years till, in 1998, the Sikh policeman Paramjeet Singh claimed to have been 0.03 of a second faster at a local upcountry meet. Sensing the cop was planning to share the prize with the stopwatch timekeeper, old Milkha, apparently, flatly refused to pay up, saying he had stipulated his record had to be broken, as it had been achieved, on foreign soil.

When the Turbanned Tempest was triumphant at Cardiff in 1958, I was just over the border, a greenhorn cub covering ploughing matches and pony trials for the Hereford Times, and it was a long dozen years till my own debutant's dip into a Commonwealth Games press box where, by 1970 at Edinburgh, the Empire bit had been dropped and so had the imperial measurements.

We had piled into the grey old Caledonian city in July hotfoot and buzzing from June's World Cup in Mexico – Pelé, Jairzinho and all that joyous jazz. In the event, however, there was colourful enchantment enough to come and I've warmly hoarded ever since a vivid recall of what remains, all these 40 years on, still the most compelling championship footrace I've witnessed – the breathtaking 5,000m final when Scotland's 21-year‑old Ian Stewart blazingly held off his compatriot Ian McCafferty, with the two of them leaving stellar all-time champs Kip Keino and Ron Clarke in their slipstream. Still the stuff of wonder.

With a purr of contented recall as well, I was still in bright-eyed salad days' form eight years on at the Commonwealth Games of Edmonton, first to lay eyes on the bonny smile of Tessa Sanderson and the immense natural promise of the kids Barry McGuigan, Steve Cram and the astonishing Daley Thompson.

Since those heady times, however, have these Commonwealth Games become increasingly pointless? Ersatz competition for second-raters, a pallid colonial salute to a nostalgic and faded past? BBC's broadcasting and its dreaded jingo-jangle – only events which include Brits are bothered with – can stretch only so far.

Delhi's appeal has been only in its smiles, its opportunities only for last-gasp deserving oldies or no-hope non-elite novices. Realists can sneer only at a low-grade feeder event that, in first division global terms in track and field, makes for very small beer indeed. The rot probably set in when crook megalomaniac Robert Maxwell was allowed to "save" – hilariously not as it turned out – Edinburgh's second and bankrupted rain-sodden Games of 1986.

How many more closing ceremonies will the Commonwealth Games celebrate after tomorrow's in Delhi? Edinburgh's neighbours Glasgow in four years' time will be hard pressed, I fancy, to redeem the whole jamboree's very raison d'être and existence.

Commonwealth Games 2010: India beat England on penalties to reach hockey final

England have lost another major sporting semi-final on penalties. India staged a remarkable comeback, advancing to the hockey final against Australia on Wednesday, after beating England on penalty strokes.

After leading 3-1 at the break, India turned round the advantage with the help of 16,000 baying Indians at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium as the hosts won 5-4 on penalties.

Glenn Kirkham missed the vital stroke but he formed part of an England side who played their hearts out on another memorable evening for Indian hockey and more importantly for the Commonwealth Games.

The win handed India a final berth for the first time since the sport's introduction at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur. It will also have atoned for their 3-2 defeat to England in the World Cup on the same pitch earlier this year.

Ashley Jackson's deadly instinct in front of goal looked to have swung the semi-final when he scored two contrasting penalty corners to give England the advantage.

But India's full-scale fightback started when Vikram Pillay scored with a majestic strike before Jackson hit the post going for his hat-trick.

A 4-1 score line would have sealed a final berth against a spirited Indian side but the hosts were unnerved and a series of attacking plays were rewarded when Saravanjit Singh stroked the equaliser between James Fair's legs.

The England stopper, named goalkeeper of the tournament when England won the European title last year, was by far the busiest of the night, keeping out a persistent wave of Indian attacking as Barry Middleton's side held on until full-time and throughout the 15 minutes of extra play.

Earlier, Shivendra had the first genuine chance 15 minutes into the match when he was fed an inviting cross right to his stick. Shivendra turned quickly enough on to his left but saw his shot go just wide of Fair's far post.

Two minutes later the National Stadium erupted as India won their first penalty corner. The crowd sensed something – after all the hosts had blitzed Pakistan apart on Sunday with two early goals – and they were rewarded again when Saravanjit Singh slotted past Fair after the Englishman's initial save from Sandeep Singh, India's lanky defender and drag-flicker.

Almost immediately, Simon Mantell had space inside India's circle to equalise but his shot whipped away from goal and the advancing Ashley Jackson, England's top marksman here, couldn't quite convert.

It was set to be the last meaningful chance of a first-half dominated by India, but there was one final twist when England were handed a vital penalty corner with 10 seconds remaining. Adam Dixon teed-up Jackson who stroked it low past Bharat Chetri.

Jackson's jubilation gave England renewed impetus heading into the break with several players looking a spent force as the penalty corner was awarded.

But with India getting themselves back into contention it seemed the pendulum of fortune had sung in their favour.

Despite Fair's heroics during normal and extra time, it was not to be when the strokes were taken and England must now play New Zealand for the bronze.

Wednesday's bronze medal play-off between England's women and South Africa will be their third of the summer following two bronze medal success against Germany, one at the Champions Trophy in Nottingham in July and one at the World Cup in Rosario in September.

After the women's tearful defeat to the Australians, they will do well to raise their game for both bronze play-offs.

CWG: TT federation still waits for complimentary tickets

The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) says the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee has not responded to its request for complimentary tickets for table tennis matches at the Yamuna Sports Complex, though many seats remain vacant.

We wrote a letter to the secretary general of OC for providing us with complimentary tickets four days ago. We have got no response from him till date. Table tennis is not a popular game in this country and it is critical for us to invite people who can fund us for organising tournaments, a TTFI official told IANS requesting anonimity.

The complex can seat 4,200 people with 1,100 seats at the show courts and 3,100 at match courts. Forty percent of the tickets have been reserved for the general public and the rest for sponsors and foreign tourists. Not many foreign tourists have been seen at the complex, according to the official.

The federation officials said since they did not have the complimentary tickets they took the help of police officials Monday to get entry to the complex for an 'important' guest.

"We did not have the tickets Monday but we had a very important guest coming to see a match. So, we spoke to the police officials for granting him entry without the ticket. There was no other option, said the TTFI official.

Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general and the official spokesperson of the OC, was not available for comments.

CWG closing to be 'different'

It will be a "spectacular mass song and dance celebration" at Thursday's Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, with a colourful laser show as the highlight, according to the creative team behind the show.

"The closing ceremony will be a spectacular mass song and dance celebration. The closing is all about celebration… it is going to be very youthful, just like a hip hop party," Viraf Sarkari, director Wizcraft International Entertainment, told IANS.

Sarkari revealed that unlike the opening ceremony, which was a melange of elements from 5,000 years of Indian culture and heritage, the closing ceremony will be more contemporary.

"We will be showcasing martial arts, then there will also be a group of 2,010 school children performing in a segment called ‘Tribute to Motherland', followed by a song and dance segment called ‘Music of Universal Love'… All in all the closing ceremony will have 7,000 performers," said Sarkari.

The Rs.40 crore-worth aerostat will be the star attraction at the closing ceremony too. It was successfully used to project animation and graphics during the CWG opener Oct 3. This apart, a special laser show has been planned as well.

Just like the opening ceremony, the closing event will be devoid of any performance by any actors. However, the Bollywood quotient will be added by the presence of singers like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan and Kailash Kher, among others.

"These singers will be part of the song and dance segment. But any speculations about a Bollywood actor performing at the event are untrue," clarified Sarkari.

According to Sarkari, a troupe from Glasgow will also put up a performance after the CWG flag is handed over to officials for the next CWG in 2014.

The closing ceremony will be very different from the opening event, he promises.

"The opening ceremony was very formal. But the closing has to be fun… the whole mood will be very different. Those who have won medals will celebrate… and the purpose of the closing ceremony will be pure enjoyment and celebration," said acclaimed ad filmmaker and lyricist Prasoon Joshi, who is part of the three-member committee for the event.

But will the show be better than the opener?
"They can't be compared… they are very, very different," Sarkari concluded.

Monday, October 11, 2010

India equals its best ever performance with 30 Gold medals on Day-8

India equalled its best ever performance in the Commonwealth Games with 30 Gold medals, as Discus Thrower Krishna Poonia bagging a historic Gold medal for the country in athletics after 58 years here today. India had achieved this feat of 30 Gold medals in the 2002 Manchester games for the first time.India’s other two Discus Throwers went on to make a clean sweep,of the event , bagging Silver and Bronze medals. Poonia’s throw was 61.51metres, Harwant Kaur claimed Siliver with a throw of 60.16m, while Seema Antil took Bronze with a best of 58.46.In boxing, Olympic Bronze medalist Vijendra Singh suffered a shock defeat in 75 kg category. Suronjoy Singh, Manoj Kumar and Paramjeet Somata have entered the finals in their respective weight categories.Jai Bhagwan, Amandeep Singh and Dilbagh Singh lost their bouts and had to settle for Bronze medals apiece today.

The first medal of the day for the hosts came in shooting as Tejaswini Sawant and Meena Kumari won bronze in women’s 50 meter Rifle Prone pairs.Sawant, later said, that she had hoped to win more than a Bronze in the competition.In Skeet pairs shooting, Mairaj Ahmad Khan and P Allan Danials finished fifth, as the Gold medal in this event was won by Cyprus.In Badminton, a host of Indian players moved into the quarter-finals of the individual badminton event on Monday, raising hopes of multiple medals from the badminton courts .India’s Saina Nehwal and Aditi Mutatkar advanced to the quarter-finals of the Women’s Singles event. World No.3 Saina defeated Caroline Black of Nigeria, 21-0,21-2 while Aditi defeated Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland 21-11, 21-17 in their respective matches.Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa pulled off a fine victory against Malaysian Eei Hui Chin and Woon Khe Wei 15-21, 21-10, 21-16 to advance into the last eight in women’s doubles.Aditi Mutatkar also moved into the women’s singles quarter-final with a 21-11, 21-17 victory over Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour. The Indian now faces second seeded Malaysian Mew Choo Wong.In men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap got the better of Kieran Merrilees of Scotland 21-12, 21-5. Kashyap, too, will have a difficult opponent in fourth seeded Mohammad Hafiz Hashim in the quarter-final.

Top ranked Indian and third seed Chetan Anand defeated Jamie Van Hooijdonk of Wales 21-8, 21-2 in another third round match. He will take on England’s Carl Baxter in the evening session for a place in the semis.Mixed doubles second seeds Jwala Gutta and V. Diju defeated compatriots Rupesh Kumar and Ashwini Ponnappa 15-21, 21-18, 21-16.In Rugby, the Indian team, however, disappointed its fans as it lost the match against Wales by an embarrassing 7-53 score.In Weightlifting, one gold was to be decided on Monday night, in men’s 105 plus Kilogram weight category. Sarabjit carries the Indian medal hopes in this event.In Women’s Hockey, India defeated Canada 3-0 in a final classification match.In Table-Tennis, Indian duo, Sharad Kamal and Shubhjeet Saha ,have entered the Men’s Doubles quarter-finals by defeating Australia’s Justin Henn and Shimon Gerreda.With five more Bronze won on Monday India continued to hold on to its second position with 30 Gold, 23 Silver and 28 Bronze. England has 26 gold, 47 Silver and 34 bronze. However, Australia continues to head the table with a total haul of 62 Gold, 40 Silver and 39 Bronze medals.Meanwhile, the New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games were hit by a doping controversy today in the same 100 meter Women’s event that earlier saw the disqualification of Australia’s Sally Pearson who was stripped off her medal for a false start.Oludamola Osayomi, a Nigerian Gold Medalist of women’s 100 meters, was tested positive in dope examination.

In the dope test methyle hexalimine stimulate was found. Addressing the customary press conference at Main Press Center, the President of the Games Federation Mr Michael Fennel said the athlete tested positive has requested for ‘B’ sample test and the hearing will be held later today.Meanwhile, the Organizing Committee Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi said today that big video screens will be put up during road events including Marathon and Cycling events along the route. He said cycling events will be held at Noida- Greater Noida Expressway and all arrangements have been completed.Indian players will also be seen in action in Table-tennis and Squash tonight.

Missing Shera replica found in UT village

Chandigarh crime branch sleuths tracked down Shera -- the official mascot of Commonwealth Games 2010  -- late Monday evening, hours after it went missing from the Verka Chowk in Mohali. The statue was found abandoned near a private school in Toga village of UT.

The crime branch officials found it following a tip-off and informed the SSP, Mohali, GPS Bhullar, immediately. The SSP directed the SHO of Phase-I police station to visit the place and collect the statue.

Earlier in a day, to fend off embarrassing queries like why were there no police personnel at Verka Chowk, which is considered to be the busiest intersection in the state, officials said Shera's replica would be replaced at the earliest. The mascot was stolen on Sunday.

Mohali deputy commissioner Parveen Kumar said a new statue would be installed in the next couple of days since its manufacturer, Abninder Singh Grewal had agreed to provide another statue 'free of cost'.

Scotland to emulate Indian Games experience in 2014

Taking a leaf out of the Indian experience, Scotland — the host of the next Commonwealth Games in 2014 — is all set to stage a similar "spectacular opening ceremony" at Glasgow. In New Delhi to participate in the Games, Scotland is not missing any opportunity to push hard business, economic, energy
and educational ties with India.

"The opening ceremony was spectacular," Alex Salmond, the first minister and head of the devolved Scottish Government said.

"We haven't made any plans for training facility for the athletes at the Games Village in Scotland. However, the Games Village here has it. So, we will try to have it in Glasgow as well," Salmond told HT.

Salmond said the Glasgow Games Village is planned as a pure residential area.

However, he said, since 70 per cent of the infrastructure is already there, there shouldn't be any delay in executing various projects.

Salmond is here to take part in the Games besides forging closer ties with India in various areas - from renewable energy to business and educational partnerships.

"Energy cooperation, especially in the renewable sector can be big. India has such a long coastline," he said.

Scotland has barely a quarter of Europe's offshore wind tidal energy.

An estimated 206 gigawatt of practical offshore wind, wave and tidal resources contribute 40 per cent of the total energy resources of UK, he said.

Salmond is set to meet Union Minister for Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on Thursday.

So far, 16 major Scotland companies are operating in India, while 11 Indian big firms have their offices there.

"But the effort is to have more joint ventures and partnerships before the next Commonwealth Games" the minister said.

Vasant Kunj Flats Have Few Takers, OC Says Apartments Meant For Delegates Not Up To The Mark

The Vasant Kunj flats that were built for Commonwealth Games delegates seem to have no takers. Even as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) claims that it had 1,300 flats ready by September 23, only 620 people turned up to stay in them. In fact, according to officials working at the complex, even the national technical officials who were staying there have started leaving ``after having completed their work''.

Besides the Kaveri Tower, all other towers are far from being complete. On Friday, when Times City visited Vasant Kunj, the complex looked deserted. According to the guards, while the dining hall had been completed from the outside, a lot of work inside the hall remained incomplete.

In Saraswati Tower, where officials claimed that 90% of the work had been completed, iron rods could be seen jutting out from various flats. No landscaping work was done and several portions had been barricaded to hide away the under construction areas. An official said: "A lot of work could not be completed on time due to the heavy rains."

DDA claimed that it had handed over the flats to the Commonwealth Games organizing committee on September 23, and some volunteers had started living there from September 16. Said an official: ``We had 1,300 flats ready by September 23, which meant that 2,700 rooms were made available for the delegates. Only 620 of them are occupied at present. Some national technical officials, who had been staying in the flats earlier, were shifted. We do not know the reason behind this.''

Commonwealth Games 2010: England struggle to overhaul India into second place in Delhi

England is struggling to overhaul India for second place on the Commonwealth Games medal tally as leaders Australia claim superiority across most sports including the pool.

India has set itself a target to stay ahead of England as the two countries swap positions for second and third.

England has won a total of 105 medals by day eight of the Games, but has been relegated to third on the medal tally because of a deficiency of gold.

So far India is beating England because it has won 29 golds compared to England's 26. But on the total medal count England is superior with 105 to India's 74.

Australia is leading the medal tally with 137 medals, 61 of them gold. But in the sport of swimming - one of the few sports considered of world class standard and a litmus test of progression leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Australia has claimed an early victory.

Australian head swim coach Leigh Nugent said his team had scored a psychological blow over the Home Nations even though England had secured its best away result with a tally of 34 medals, 11 more than Melbourne four years ago. Of the 34, England won seven gold medals and Scotland contributed two gold.

But Australia also improved its golden tally to 20 (up from 17 in Melbourne).

Nugent said the British team had "taken a big hit" in a critical time before the London Games and said the Brits would be shaken by the experience.

National performance director Michael Scott revealed the target for British swimmers had been exceeded by three medals.

He did, though, identify improvements which needed to be made, such as coming out on top in close races as well as starts and turns.

He said: "It was a challenging environment. I was pleased - our last two days were our strongest days."

England team leader John Atkinson was satisfied with his squad's effort which saw them exceed by five the target of 24 they had set based on world rankings, while the number of finalists had risen to 68. "We can go away really proud with what we've done," he said.

Commonwealth Games 2010: Delhi belly 'will not affect swimmers' performance pay'

British Swimming has promised the Home Nations' competitors who succumbed to Delhi belly last week that it will have their "interests at heart" when it reviews performance-related pay.

National performance director Michael Scott revealed that a dozen athletes, notably Fran Halsall who collapsed poolside, fell foul of mystery illnesses that swept through several nations' camps in New Delhi.

Athlete Personal Awards are made to swimmers on an annual basis and the money comes out of British Swimming's £25 million four-year purse issued by UK Sport, the government quango.

But British Swimming, the national governing body which viewed these Games as its priority meet of the year, stressed that no athlete would be at a disadvantage as London 2012 looms.

"We have an injury and illness clause in our policy," said the Australian, who took the helm at British Swimming in 2007. "I will get a report from the doctor on every athlete on whose performance has been impacted.

"I can guarantee you that I have already told the athletes their interest is at heart. We are not going to undo six to eight years of good years out here. If there is a legitimate illness, then this will be taken into consideration."

A British Swimming spokesman added: "There may be a case where athletes' funding is reviewed every six months as opposed to 12 months. In some aspects it gives the athletes more incentive to perform."

In the pool, Scott believed there were several areas where performances could be raised as they aim to bridge the gap on Australia, the second best nation in world swimming behind the United States.

He said: "We have to convert and improve technically - that's where the Australians showed us up. "

Britain, though, were rewarded with a combined haul of nine golds, 10 silver and 15 bronze in the pool at the Games.

The Australians secured seven medals less than 2006 but with England also improving their tally by six, it meant the gap between the two has considerably narrowed.

However Leigh Nugent, Australia's head coach, still had time to strike an early blow for Britain's chances in London 2012 before leaving Delhi. Nugent said: "Have a look at the scoreboard. I'd think they've taken a big hit here and that they'd have been shaken by their performance here."

Adlington countered: "They have always had that depth. Now we are coming after them and I think we've caught them up and we are going to start overtaking them."

Meanwhile, British Swimming has confirmed to Telegraph Sport that plans to stage the 2013 European Championships in London have been dropped.

Officials will look to accomodate the 2016 event after discussions with LEN, Europe's swimming federation.

Meanwhile, the Duel in the Pool, the Ryder Cup-style event between the United States and Europe, will be staged in Atlanta's Olympic pool in Dec 2011.

Indian medal tally boosts Doordarshan income

India's glowing medal tally in the Commonwealth Games is boosting public broadcaster Doordarshan's earnings, with mounting viewership leading to more advertisements, officials said Monday.

"With India's medal tally increasing by the day, viewership has definitely increased... That's why corporates are now keen to book slots for advertisements during the matches," a Doordarshan official said.

Doordarshan's initial assessment based on estimates of audience measurement agencies had put the number of homes in India that watched the opening ceremony Oct 3 at over 87 million.

India is second in the medal tally with 29 gold, 22 silver and 23 bronze medals.

Doordarshan's advertisement revenues had so far been poor. Its original revenue forecast of around USD 40 million was revised down to USD 20 million.

To make up for the deficit, the Indian government had asked public sector units to book ad spots. But the picture is changing now.

With increasing viewership, the spot buy rates have now been hiked from Rs.90,000 (USD 2,040) to Rs.250,000 (USD 5,660) for a 10-second slot.

The Commonwealth Games Village newspaper quotes some corporate houses as saying that they are looking forward to advertise on Doordarshan.

"We cannot do anything now in terms of sponsorships and other ground activities during the Games. But what we can do is take up ad spots and place advertisements since the TRP is increasing," said Anirush Dhoot, Videocon Industries
director (Sales and Marketing).

Pepsico executive vice president Sandeep Arora said: "We are evaluating opportunities as to what a brand like us, which is not a sponsor, can do during the Games."

CWG Day 8: All three medals to Indian women in discus throw

India continues an impressive run in the Commonwealth Games medal tally after Indian women swept gold, silver and bronze in the discus.Krishna Poonia won gold, bagging the top spot with a throw of 61.51-meters, thus becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold in athletics at the Games in New Delhi.

India’s first Commonwealth Games gold medal in track and field came in 1958 when Milkha Singh won the 440-yard track event in Cardiff.

On Monday, Harwant Kaur won silver with a throw of 60.16 meters and Seema Antil a bronze with a 58.46-meter throw.

Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the Games Organizing Committee presented the medals as the crowd in Jawaharlal Nehru stadium went wild for Ms. Poonia. The Hindi presenter called for another round of applause for the medal winners as a modern version of the song Vande Mataram was played.

The first medal to come India’s way on the eighth day of competition was from its shooters.

Tejaswini Sawant and Meena Kumari won a bronze medal in the 50-meter women’s pairs rifle event.

India’s aspirations of winning a bagful of gold medals from boxing were dashed after Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh was knocked out in the semi-final of the 75-kilogram boxing competition.

Amandeep Singh, Jai Bhagwan and Dilbag Singh won a bronze medal each in 49-kilogram, 60-kilogram and 69-kilogram events.

India’s favorite badminton player Saina Nehwal entered into the quarter-finals after defeating Nigerian Caroline Black 21-0, 21-2.

Australia is currently leading the Games’ overall scoreboard with 139 medals; England stands second with 106 medals followed by India with 81 medals.

Ho-Ho bus service launched for Commonwealth Games visitors

Recently launched by Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit, the service will offer visitors to the mega sporting event a hassle free and smooth ride to tourists to monuments, museums and markets.

Ho-Ho name sounds somewhat interesting when it is connected with a bus service. What is Ho-Ho? It stands for ‘hop on, hop off’ (Ho-Ho) bus service, modeled on popular concept of transport facilities in European countries and this is first time in India that such services will be provided to visitors during Commonwealth Games  in capital. After getting low floor green colour buses and red colour air conditioned buses, it is time for Delhiites to see new purple colour buses on the roads.

Recently launched by Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit, the service will offer visitors to the mega sporting event a hassle free and smooth ride to tourists to monuments, museums and markets. In this service, buses would ply on the designated route every half an hour so that tourists do not have any obligation on time spent at a spot. They can board the buses anywhere they want to and go to the next destination. Tourists can hop on and hop off at any of the stops along the way as per their expediency. The buses will ply from 8 am. to 8 pm through the year.

The bus service will ferry the visitors to not only to the historical monuments, museums and other popular tourist destinations but also to authentic Indian restaurants and popular markets. Tourists using this bus service do not have to need to stand in the queue to buy their entry tickets for historical monument as entry tickets will be available for sale inside the ‘Ho-Ho’ bus.

The buses will start from Coffee Home, Baba Karag Singh Marg in Connuaght Place and will have stoppages at Delhi Gate, Red Fort, Raj Ghat, National Gallery of Modern Art India Gate, Purana Quila, Humayuns Tomb, Defence Colony Metro Station, Lotus Temple, Metropolitan Mall Saket/Select City Walk, Qutab Minar, Hauz Khas Village, Dilli Haat (INA), Safdarjung Tomb, Santushti near Hotel Samrat, Teen Murti Marg-Nehru Museum, National Museum Janpath and Jantar Mantar.

The visitors will be able to visit Khooni Darwaza, Feroz Shah Kotla, Gandhi Museum, Ambedkar Stadium, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Salimgarh Fort, various Samadhis around Raj Ghat, National Stadium, Children's Park, India Gate, Pragati Maidan, Crafts Museum, National Zoological Park, Isa Khan Tomb, Nizamuddin Dargah, Gole Gumbaj, Sunderwala Burj, Defence Colony Market, Lajpat Nagar Central Market, Kalkaji District Park, ISKCON Temple, Hotel Intercontinental Eros, Hilton Garden Inn, Garden of Five Senses, Quila Rai Pithora, Ahimsa Sthal, Butterfly Park, Indian Handicraft Emporium, Deer Park, Hauz Rani monument, Hauz Khas Market, Dilli Haat, INA Market, Lodi Garden, Jaipur Polo Ground, Nehru Planetarium, Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, Janpath Market, Crafts Emporium, etc.

The bus which is equipped with state of art technologies like digital video screens and GPS system also has trained guides and guest relations executives who will be responsible for giving information about the sites. After Games, government will start an open-roof service for tourists in the winter season only so that the tourists can enjoy winter of Delhi too.

Tourists can download city maps, information brochures and informative videos to plan their trip better. Information such as type of hotel, booking services, bed and breakfast establishments, guest houses, transport and flight services, currency converter and weather updates besides detailed information on city’s heritage, must-see attractions and eateries are being made available at the click of a mouse even before they set out for Delhi.

The purple-coloured air-conditioned buses will hit the roads from Oct 1, 2010. From September 28th to 30th, 2010 the buses will offer free rides to under-privileged children and senior citizens. The bus will charge Rs.300 from adult and Rs.150 from every child less than three feet in height.

The service is provided by joint venture between Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions Private Ltd, Pune and Urban Mass Transit Company Ltd (UMTC) and contract is for next ten years.

for more information visit

Sunday, October 10, 2010

India look forward to seven medals in boxing

India are looking up to their star-studded boxing squad that includes Olympic Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh, to provide a further impetus to their medal harvest on the eighth day of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Monday. Seven boxers would be seen in the ring in which the semi
final bouts would be contested and even a loss at this stage would assure them of at least a bronze, but it's certain all of them would be targeting the gold. The seven are: Anandeep Singh (lt.-fly), Suranjoy Singh (fly), Jai Bhagwan (lt. welter), Manoj Kumar (lt. welter), Dilbag Singh (welter), Vijender Singh (middle) and Paramjeet Samota (super heavy).

Their opponents are from Northern Ireland, Pakistan, England, Bahamas and Tonga. Today's winners would progress to the finals on Wednesday after Tuesday's break. Thus far, India's tally includes 29 gold, just one shy of their all-time best of 30 in 2002 at Manchester, 22 silver and as many bronze medals and is made up mainly of those won in the shooting range and on the wrestling mat.

Out of the total gold heist, the shooters, who are still in the fray, have scooped up 13, the all-powerful wrestlers and the fast-improving archers - both through with their campaign - have picked up 10 and 3 respectively. Also, out of the record overall medal heist of 73, these three sports have injected 51 - a sure indication of their vast contribution.

The surprise packet for India have been the athletes who have garnered two silver and as many bronze medals, also the best-ever from any single Games. The medal winners have been field athletes Vikas Gowda (men's discus), Prajusha Malliakal (women's long jump), Harminder Singh (men's 20km road walk) and Kavita Raut (women's 10,000m).

Today, triple jump hope Renjit Maheshwari would be in action along with seasoned women's discus throwers Krishna Pooniya and Seema Antil. Young Gayatri Govindraj takes her bow in women's 100m hurdles while preliminary rounds of all four relay events would also be gone through and India have entered in all.

In rugby 7s, India - who are making their debut - lost to Wales. In shooting, world champion Tejaswini Sawant and Meena Kumari are in fray in the 50m rifle prone event for women along with skeet shooters Allan Daniel Peoples and Mairaj Ahmad Khan. Sarabjit Singh will appear in men's 105kg Weightlifting competition.

There's Indian presence in the squash doubles event too. Indians would also seen in action in table tennis and badminton's individual competitions.

India on verge of CWG medals record as 16 gold medals at stake on Day 8

With 16 gold medals at stake on the eighth day of the XIXth Commonwealth Games, India would be keen to continue the impressive run as they are on the verge of equalling their best ever Commonwealth Games gold medals record today.

India has so far won 29 gold and another gold would put them level with their all time list of 30 gold, which they achieved in 2002 Manchester Games.

Out of six gold medals in Athletics on Monday, all eyes would be on discus thrower Krishna Pooniya and Renjit Maheshwari, who will compete in men's triple jump.

Despite showing a dismal performance in the 2010 Games so far, the Indian swimmers and divers would look to better their performance today with Hari Prasad Thimmarayappa and Manesh Kumar Mohan competing in men's 3m-springboard event, and Hrutika Parvatayya Shriram and Deepti Panwar in women's 10m-platform event at the SP Mukherjee Swimming Stadium today.

Indian boxers Suranjoy Singh and Amandeep Singh will be fighting in their respective semi-finals.

Indian shooters have been impressive in the 2010 Games and will eye upon gold today as well. Tejaswini Sawant and Meena Kumari will participate in the Women's 50m Prone Rifle Pairs event, while Allan Daniel Peoples and Mairaj Ahmad Khan will aim for gold in the Men's Skeet Pairs event.

Weightlifter Sarabjit fight for gold in 105+kg Men Finals.

The gold medals at stake today include: aquatics (2), athletics (6), lawn bowls (2), shooting (5) and weightlifting (1).

Anuj hoping CWG silver will help him get promotion

Arjuna awardee and Olympian Anuj Kumar Chaudhary believes in positive thinking. After winning a silver in 84 kg freestyle wrestling event in the Commonwealth Games on Sunday, now Anuj is eagerly waiting for a promotion in the department.

Talking to The Indian Express, the 28-year-old Uttar Pradesh Police wrestler who has brought laurels to the state and the country on numerous occasions, said, “My department is already very happy with my efforts. Presently, I am posted at Noida as an inspector. My file for promotion as Deputy SP is pending with the UP government since 2006. I think the silver medal today will help me in getting my due promotion and recognition from the government.”

Anuj who hails from Badari village of Muzaffarnagar said that after a medal at the Commonwealth Games, now he will be working hard for the upcoming Asian Games and the 2012 Olympics.

Anuj got a job in the Uttar Pradesh Police in 2000 as sub-inspector through the sports quota. Owing to his performances in the national and international arena he got promoted as inspector in 2003. He was given the Laxman award (the highest state award in sports) in 2001 and the Arjuna award in 2005. Talking about his performances in the international arena— he won a silver in the Commonwealth Games held at Manchester in 2002 and a gold in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2003. He bagged a bronze in the Asian Wrestling Championships held in China in 2005 and a gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships the same year.

When contacted secretary Uttar Pradesh Police Sports Control Board and IG Police Arun Kumar said, “The proposal for his promotion is already under consideration. Now we will ensure that he gets promoted at the earliest.”

Arjuna awardee Ranveer Singh who is assistant director sports in UP Police and former captain of the Indian volleyball team said, “Anuj’s promotion is pending with the government due to some technical reasons.

I hope that the technical difficulties are done away with soon and he gets promoted as DSP as per the Government order. Talented players get encouraged with recognition. Anuj has done the state and the country proud on several occasions.”

Commonwealth Games 2010: party time as India beat Pakistan to set up England clash

It was the night when the Commonwealth Games came to life. A sell-out crowd of 20,000 flag-waving fans screaming themselves hoarse as India thumped seven goals past their old hockey adversaries, Pakistan, to clinch a semi-final place against England.

Finally, after six days of half-empty stadiums and general indifference among locals to the sporting events that have turned their city into a military zone, the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium erupted into a giant party yesterday. Jose Brasa, India’s Spanish coach, likened it to being inside the Bernabéu.

If only the rest of the Games could have been like this. How different it all was to the eerily empty streets that had greeted the cyclists for the men’s and women’s road races just a few hours earlier.

Even the omnipresent police and security personnel appeared to be fighting a losing battle as spectators ignored their exhortations to sit down, many choosing to stand and cheer for the entire game.

Among them in the cheap seats was Indian National Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, who, in an apparent political gesture, eschewed the Games VIP area and chose to sit with paying customers behind one of the goals, heralding a mass outbreak of rubber-necking when the pair were spotted.

This was not a time for class distinction. Indians, facing a must-win clash with Pakistan in their national sport, were in it together.

The match had long been billed as the “Game of the Games” - ever since the last ticket was sold 3½ months ago — but what was not known then was that the cross-border showdown would be a winner-takes-all affair, deciding who would go forward to the semi-finals and who would be leaving with nothing.

With both sides tied on six points before the match but with Pakistan boasting a superior goal difference, the visitors needed only a draw while India required a victory.

India’s lame 5-2 capitulation to world champions Australia just three days earlier had not exactly inspired much confidence going into yesterday’s match, particularly since Pakistan had looked impressive in their previous pool games.

But India were clearly galvanised by the passionate home support.

Astonishingly, they were 4-0 up within 20 minutes as Sandeep Singh lashed home two penalty corners, Shivendra Singh scored a rebound from another and Saravanjit Singh touched home a long-hit pass from Sandeep to make it an all Singh-ing and dancing start for the hosts.

Two goals for Pakistan before half-time quietened the crowd for a while but by the time Danish Mujtaba swooped on a rebound from a penalty corner just after the interval and poked the ball home, the victory celebrations had begun.

A goal for Dharamvir Singh and a second for Shivendra were met with two Pakistan replies, the match ending 7-4.

India now meet England tomorrow for a place in the final after Barry Middleton’s men secured a 2-1 victory over South Africa earlier in the day to finish on top of their pool. Another sell-out crowd will test their mental fortitude.

“The crowd was excellent,” said Brasa. “I think it is incredible to play with this support. The crowd started shouting and supporting the players as soon as they arrived on the pitch and they carried on shouting every time an Indian player got the ball and looked to attack.

“That is very difficult to find in another country. In football we have something similar in Spain with Real Madrid but it is difficult to find something equal.

“When Spain were playing in the final of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 the crowd were supporting us, but it was nothing like this.”

Commonwealth Games 2010: technology and ticketing providing no end of problems

Olympic organisers say they will learn lessons from the serious ticketing and technology problems at the Commonwealth Games that have been so bad the system has teetered on the verge of collapse.

The most basic information needed for athletes, officials and technical delegates to conduct the competitions in New Delhi have ground to a halt.

In addition, the technology surrounding the sale of tickets has been immersed in scandal and incompetence, with spectators told venues are sold out, only to see on television the stands are half empty. Ticket offices often sell tickets but are then unable to print them out.

The ticketing debacle has even extended to fraud. On Sunday police arrested two people, including a volunteer who worked with the organising committee, for selling tickets at double the face value even though they were supposed to be given to schoolchildren for free.

“This has been an eye-opener into how not to do things, and how important it is for the whole system to be integrated from the word go, and tested months ahead of time,” said a London official who has been embedded in the Games staffing.

“The technology has been the biggest disaster and it has only been the goodwill of everyone being patient and trying to work around the issues that any results are being published, it is a nightmare. Technology and tickets, the two big items and they have failed both here, it has been a really valuable lesson for us not to cut any corners with this.”

Behind the scenes the results and information service which provides basic details such as schedules, times, placings, medal tallies and flash quotes from athletes has failed miserably. Commentators and journalists have to rely on scoreboard timings that flash up at a venue, sometimes for just seconds. The alternative is to wait more than four or five hours for such results.

“The main area we are very unhappy with is the Games info system,” Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said.

Organising committee executives said the problem was the integration of the information at the venues on to the mainframe. Experts have been working on the problem of corrupted files and unworkable slow data speeds since before the opening ceremony, but it has now got to the stage that the information is being emailed around on pdf files.

Swiss Timing was charged with integrating the system at each venue into the main system but with just four days of competition remaining, the system still does not work.

Fennell said integration of the results was always challenging at Games and the contract had to be carefully handled.

Boxing: Khan, Barnes win CWG medals

Haroon Khan guaranteed a Commonwealth Games medal at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.

However, he insisted beating a British fighter gave him more satisfaction than knowing he will head home with at least bronze.

The 19-year-old, wearing the vest of Pakistan, squeezed past Welshman Andrew Selby on countback after a tight 3-3 draw, then said he felt vindicated after alleging he had been frozen out of the Great Britain squad.

Khan said: "This is what I wanted to do - get a medal and beat a lad from the Great Britain podium squad. I've done that and proved them wrong. It [beating a Briton] is more important than the medal."

Responding to comments made by Selby after the previous round in which the Welshman said Khan was not worthy of a podium squad place, Khan said: "Selby said he battered me in sparring - well look what happened then.

"My hand was lifted and I'm just so proud. My job was to come here and prove the selectors wrong and I've done that. I've got a medal at 52kg and the British lad hasn't got it. I wanted a medal to prove I'm good enough and I've done that."

Khan took the lead with a left hand through Selby's tight guard in the opening round, but a good left in return allowed the Welshman, whose more accurate shots lacked power, to draw level.

A crisp counter-punching right from Khan put him back in front in round two but Selby's dogged persistence paid off with a second equalising punch towards the end of the round, setting up a dramatic finale.

Both fighters exchanged single points again in the third with Khan's looser, more powerful performance ultimately catching the eye of the judges and sending him through to a semi-final against India's Suranjoy Mayengbam.

Northern Ireland light-flyweight Paddy Barnes was less happy with his bronze medal and was in no mood to celebrate despite a strong and sharp 4-2 victory over Australia's Andrew Moloney.

Barnes, the European champion and Olympic bronze medallist, dodged the interview mixed zone after claiming earlier quotes he had given in which he claimed boxing was "boring" had been taken out of context.

Middlesbrough heavyweight Simon Vallily got his Games campaign under way with an explosive first-round stoppage of Dominic Winrow of the Isle of Man.

Vallily rocked his opponent with his first punch of the fight and forced a standing count with just 20 seconds of the contest gone. A huge left hand clubbed Winrow to the canvas and he was helped groggily back to his corner.

Vallily said: "It was good to get out there. I wanted to get into the tournament and get the ball rolling because all of this is a new experience for me but it's just great to be at the Commonwealth Games.

"There's a bit of pressure on me but it doesn't really affect me. I just train hard and get in and do what I've got to do. The pressure just comes with winning. With my power and speed I hope I can have a good tournament.''

Northern Ireland's Steven Ward moved within one more win of a medal with a 7-4 win over Australian Giancarlo Squillace, while Scottish heavyweight Stephen Simmons eased past South Africa's Masana Manganyi 10-2.

Simmons decked Manganyi with a strong right hand in the last round but the Scot, who was dropped from the fully-funded Great Britain podium squad earlier this year, was far from happy with his performance.

Simmons said: "I give it five out of 10. I'm here to take gold here and prove a point but I will need to make my performance better to do it. I'm never going to win gold with a performance like that.''

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