Friday, April 16, 2010

NSC to Camp Commonwealth Games Athletes in China

Sports Minister and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Ibrahim Bio disclosed that he plans to camp Nigerian athletes for the Commonwealth Games in China or another Asian country that has similar climatic conditions with India.

The Minister who was speaking in Abuja said that the exercise will enable the selected athletes concentrate on training and acclimatize before the Games billed for October 3- 14 in New Delhi, India.

He added that his ministry will ensure that Nigeria gets good results in the Games even as the fortunes of the country's athletics has somewhat dwindled in recent times. Bio blamed the development on lack of planning and organisation of grassroots development programmes to produce new athletes.

"Once the athletes are selected for the Games, we'll will take them to Asia for camping for a period of time. We want them to acclimatise and concentrate," Bio said. On the other hand, Athletics Federation of Nigeria technical director, Sunday Bada disclosed that the Ijebu-Ode camp, which was closed for the Easter holiday, will re-open after the AFN Golden League this weekend."We want to use the performance of the athletes at the meet in Ibadan as a yardstick for selection," he said.

Sheila to Centre: Give more power

Caught in a never-felt-and-seen-before hot April, Delhi has sent an SOS to the Centre for more power to meet the growing demand and to showcase the city’s power management capability prior to the Commonwealth Games.

In a letter to Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, CM Sheila Dikshit has sought “at least 25 per cent”, instead of the usual 20-22 per cent, of the 1,430 MW of Central power.

Usually, Delhi’s share of this power starts from May 1. But this year, Delhi wanted it early —from April 15.

“This summer would be a showcase to the stakeholders of the Commonwealth Games… about the power supply scenario in Delhi preceding the Games. Hence, we need to ensure availability of power even in emergency situations,” she wrote.

But, the centre hasn’t replied and neither has the central power started flowing to Delhi. South, east and west Delhi have already started reeling under 2 to 4 hour power cuts.

Dikshit is slated to take up the matter with Shinde soon.

“While we haven’t heard from the Union ministry yet, we are hoping for a positive response,” said Delhi Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar. “We need this power also because we haven’t received the power promised from West Bengal.”

Last year, in the middle of unprecedented power cuts and shortage, around 300 MW from the Centre had saved Delhi.

The Union Ministry is committed to send the entire unallocated power during the Games, but Dikshit has argued that the demand in October will not be as high as in summer, hence the request now.

Meanwhile, sensing the availability of cheap power, the discoms have warned that this summer would also be fraught with unbridled power cuts if the Central power does not arrive.

“We do not have money for expensive power from the Power Exchange. We also don’t have the cash to pay for the existing tie-ups,” claimed a discom official.

For the sceptics, the discoms might just have found yet another reason to unleash a reign of power cuts on the city.

Everything on track to ensure seamless broadcast of Commonwealth: Kalmadi

The three-day Second World Broadcasters Meet for the Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHB) of the Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi began here on Friday.

Prasar Bharati and Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi are hosting the meet.

Representatives of Network 10 and FoxTel (Australia), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, British Broadcasting Corporation, Asian Broadcasting Union and Astro (Malaysia), Singapore Sports Council as well as Sky NZ and TV NZ (New Zealand) are attending the WBM along with Doordarshan and All India Radio.

Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi Chairman Suresh Kalmadi informed the WBM that everything was on track to ensure seamless broadcast of excellent images to millions of homes round the Commonwealth.

Delivering the keynote address, he said Doordarshan had gathered some of the industry’s best TV professionals to ensure that Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi is an exceptional and memorable broadcast.

“SIS, which is a subsidiary of the BBC and needs no introduction to the broadcasters, is Doordarshan’s production partner. Similarly, Global TV Australia is partnering Shaf India in building the International Broadcasting Centre and delivering all the technical services needed there,” he said.

Kalmadi said the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi has hired experts in all areas that interface with the Rights Holding Broadcasters – technology, telecommunications, accreditation, transport, accommodation and logistics.

“All this will ensure that you will enjoy working during the Games and contribute to the overall success of Delhi 2010,” he said.

Doordarshan Director General Mrs Aruna Sharma, who welcomed the delegates from the RHBs, said every effort would be made to facilitate a great broadcast from the Games that will be held in Delhi from October 3 to 14.

Four artists share their ideas for public artworks to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Delhi

The empire struck back spectacularly a fortnight ago when Anish Kapoor, the celebrated British artist of Indian origin, was chosen to design a monument to mark the 2012 London Olympics. Kapoor’s Orbit is a structure of giant steel lattices. Construction of the 115m-tall structure, taller than the Statue of Liberty, is to be almost entirely funded by the steel company ArcelorMittal, owned by non-resident Indian (NRI) businessman Lakshmi Mittal. The company will put £16 million (around Rs109.7 crore) into the project.

The news of a twin Indian collaboration on a structure of such scale and significance was greeted enthusiastically in India. Many artists feel that the forthcoming Commonwealth Games are a good opportunity for Delhi to bring in contemporary expressions of public art because sponsors are likely to be available. The celebrated Subodh Gupta, for instance, says he sent a proposal to create a giant steel tree sculpture in time for the games but has yet to hear from the government. Delhi-based artist Jatin Das questions the declarations by the games’ organizing committee that preceded the games plan, suggesting a 1% allocation of all building expenditure on public art. Considering the amount of construction work the games have entailed, the city should have been dotted with public artworks by now.

Navneet Kumar, secretary of the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), says a committee comprising architects, landscape architects, artists and muralists was formed in January to take a call on all public art projects. “But it has only met twice till now,” he adds. According to Kumar, the DUAC hasn’t received any proposals yet.

With this in mind, we asked four artists to share their visions for monumental structures that could be constructed to commemorate the games.

Paresh Maity: ‘The Vision’

Paresh Maity speaks with the fascination of an artist who has recently started working with sculptural installations.

His proposal for a monumental structure to commemorate the games is a giant eye mounted atop two 100ft columns that are designed like profile views of the faces of a man and a woman. In this all-steel structure, the eye itself is around 80ft wide. The entire structure is illuminated and an elevator and staircase scales its height to allow visitors to be at eye level with the centre of the eyeball. For Maity, the eye signifies humanity, growth, unity and stability.

His design has its roots in a smaller, 36x72-inch bronze and steel sculpture called The Vision that was part of his large solo, The World on a Canvas, at Delhi’s Art Alive Gallery in March.

The artist visualizes this structure near the airport or at the entrance of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium—where a majority of the games will be hosted. “I see this as a matt steel structure. One that can easily be funded by the likes of SAIL, Tata Steel or Jindal Steel,” he adds.

Sudarshan Shetty: ‘The History of Loss’

The installation of Sudarshan Shetty’s The History of Loss in Vancouver coincided with the commencement of the Winter Olympics there and the work is currently on display at the Vancouver Biennale. “It is about staging an event, recording that event, and history,” says Shetty, referring to the wall of small aluminium model cars encased in transparent plexiglass boxes that have been stacked together. Shetty feels that the work will be as relevant in any urban space in India and its subversive take on the idea of staging an event and then truthfully recording it for posterity could make visitors to the Commonwealth Games pause.

The toy-size cars are all damaged, mimicking a car crash, and each plexiglass case holding them has a date printed on it. “I had 42 days to make this work,” says Shetty. “So there are 42 events (cars), made in 42 days, with 42 dates.” The piece lends itself to multiple interpretations—the “methodical violence of the city” as represented by the grid, the systematic representation of events or of creating history, as well as the “facile and meaningless” aspect of the whole endeavour.

Gigi Scaria: ‘Wheel’
Gigi Scaria is impressed by Anish Kapoor’s monumental sculpture for the 2012 London Olympics. “It is an amazing structural construct and it is also very rooted in a conceptual understanding,” he says. But for Scaria, the Commonwealth Games bring to the fore the urgent debates around “development”, construction and fast-changing cityscapes.

Scaria’s 12ft-high Ferris wheel—with miniature apartment blocks where the seats should be—fashioned out of wood and paint was exhibited in Mumbai in 2009. An electric motor made the wheel rotate. “It has been designed reflecting my idea of urban space as an amusement park,” he says. “Today we are thrilled by so many things happening in the city—something is going on forever. And the excitement it generates has its ups and downs.”

Conceptually, he now reimagines this Ferris wheel as a monumental work with each “apartment block” big enough to hold two-three people. “I see the structure of the wheel reflecting the social and urban structure of any city—inside the apartments you will see new things all the time as the wheel rotates,” Scaria says. “The way the landscape is always changing and builders are constructing a new city.”

Vishal K Dar: ‘I Am a Monument’

Trained primarily as an architect, Vishal Dar works with digital animation software, prototyping technology and new media to produce archi sculptures and art installations.

For the Commonwealth Games, he proposes a 250ft hologram called I Am a Monument that he designed in November as part of the Khoj artists’ residency programme.

Dar visualizes a light projection of a Mother India figure near India Gate.

“India Gate is a colonial structure. What better occasion than the Commonwealth Games to make a nationalistic statement?” asks Dar, who believes that India’s agrarian identity still holds her in strong stead, making Mother India an icon that captures the spirit of the nation state appropriately.

For Dar, there’s more to the 1957 pop culture allusion. “In the movie, (actor) Nargis struggles against all odds single-handedly. She doesn’t let go of her principles, even killing her own son when she believes him to be in the wrong,” Dar explains.

In his representations, the figure—almost double the size of the gate—appears to walk up from behind it. In Dar’s narrative, she is about to topple over India Gate, plough through Rajpath (the ceremonial boulevard for the republic) before eventually reaching Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The artist had earlier envisioned a steel and concrete structure but has settled for a light projection to make it all the more striking.

Head to Delhi for the Hand-over

A ONCE-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses paid trip to the closing ceremony of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games is available for three lucky Angus residents, courtesy of the Glasgow 2014 games committee.
At the closing ceremony of the Delhi games on October 14 a 400-strong cast from across Scotland will take part in a mass dance routine to mark the formal handover of the games to Glasgow.

The 2014 organising committee has offered every local authority in Scotland three fully funded places within this mass cast, who will be performing for the 65,000 crowd in the spectacular Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and a global television audience of one billion.

Angus Council's vice-convener of neighbourhood services Colin Brown said: "Angus is directly involved in the 2014 games, with part of the shooting contest taking place at Barry Buddon, so it would be wonderful to have Angus represented at the actual ceremony which hands the games over to Scotland.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for three local people to represent their county and Scotland at what promises to be one of the biggest shows on earth."

The 2014 organisers hope that people who regularly make a contribution to their local community through volunteering - in particular in one of the 17 sports within the Glasgow 2014 programme - will take the chance to apply for one of the coveted places.

The 17 Commonwealth Games sports are aquatics, athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, judo, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, shooting, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.

A good basic level of physical fitness but no previous dance experience is required as performance level will be achievable from rehearsals. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

* be 18 years or over on June 10, 2010 (or 10 October, 2010, if you would be able to stay at home for the rehearsals in Glasgow).

* have a good basic level of physical fitness, self-motivated and enthusiastic.

* be able to commit to the following rehearsal schedule in Glasgow: 10 -11 June and 20 September - 8 October, 2010.

* be able to commit to the performance schedule in Delhi of 12 - 17 October 2010.

* have no medical conditions preventing exercise, physical exertion, air travel, travel vaccinations and periods in hot environments.

* consent to all advice and necessary requirements as dictated by the project doctor, e.g., travel vaccinations and medical and emergency attention in Delhi.

* hold a full UK or other passport allowing travel to India, valid for at least six months beyond October 16, 2010 (up to April 16, 2011).

* consent to necessary security and background checks.

* and, most importantly, have pride, passion, dedication and a willingness to learn.

More information and application forms are available online at Completed applications must be received by Friday, April 23, when the names of three eligible applicants will be drawn from a hat.

Game for some art at the Commonwealth Games

The art fraternity wants to make the best out of the Commonwealth Games that will be held in New Delhi from October 3 to 14. From art exhibitions to rallies, special shows to installations, they have planned it all during the Games.

Recently former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev’s NGO Khushii got 11 artists including Dileep Sharma, Jagannath Panda, George Martin, Paresh Maity, Naina Kanodia, Jayshree Burman and Mithu Sen to paint rickshaws. These paintings will be a part of one of the VIP rallies at the games. Dileep says, “These rickshaws are a part of the charity auction organised by Khushii every year. These will be auctioned in May and will become a part of this prestigious rally.”

The Lalit Kala Akademi, one of the oldest art organisations in Delhi, has also planned an interesting exhibition to coincide with the Games. Ashok Vajpayee, the president of the Akademi, says, “We are planning to show a specially curated art exhibition which will focus on sports. Through this exhibition we are going to trace the relevance of games and sports in the miniature paintings and also in contemporary artworks.”

Even private galleries in Delhi are taking a lot of interest in organising special shows. Renu Modi of Gallery Espac says, “About 5-6 big galleries in the city are in the process of organising exciting and collective art projects.”

Even the government of India has decided to play an active role in promoting Indian art. Kewal Sharma, principal secretary with the Public Works Department (PWD), says, “We will be displaying public art in the form of sculptures and installations at various locations.

Architect Pradeep Sachdev says, “The plan is to show artworks made of things that are environment-friendly — to prove that the city cares for nature.”

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