Saturday, September 4, 2010

Queen's Baton Relay in Udupi

The Udupi district administration is gearing up to welcome the Queen's Baton Relay of the Commonwealth Games here on Monday.
Deputy Commissioner P. Hemalatha told presspersons here on Saturday that the baton would only be passing through the district for about 15 to 20 minutes between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. It had no scheduled programme in the district.

The baton would be welcomed at the Kinnimulki Swagat Gopura here with the beating of the traditional ‘chande'. Nearly 5,000 students, and members of the NCC, Scouts and Guides would be present. The baton would pass through Court Road, Kavi Muddanna Road, Bannanje Road and rejoin National Highway 17.

The baton would be taken in a relay here by Babu Shetty, Udaykumar Shetty, Apsara Rohit Kumar Kateel, Padmanabha Bandi and Arunakala, who had all participated in international sports events. Besides, some national-level sportspersons from the district would also participate in the relay.

Cultural programmes, including Yakshagana, Dollu Kunita, Veera Gaseand Huli Vesha would be staged at two places near the taluk office and Board High School during the baton relay here, Ms. Hemalatha said.

OC fears wet Games, to order raincoats for all

Get ready to enjoy a wet Commonwealth Games. That is at least what the Organising Committee (OC) expects as it begins ordering raincoats for performers, workers and even spectators in anticipation of a downpour.
With the city awash with 32.6 mm rain exactly 30 days before the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, the OC has started looking for cover. “It has been my experience in the past that every big event has been blessed by rain. So there is no point in taking chances. If we hand a plastic poncho to people entering the stadium, things are taken care of,” said Organising Committee General Secretary Lalit Bhanot.

Two bidders, including National Cooperative Consumer Federation, had come forward a fortnight ago. The OC had sent out tenders for the plastic ponchos. The order has, however, not been placed till now as the OC is unsure about the number.

The initial estimate was 1.5 lakh ponchos. “The audience for the opening and closing ceremonies put together will itself be 1.2 lakh. Other than that, we will need ponchos for our workforce and performers, so at least 3 to 5 lakh will be required,” said a senior OC official.

The Organising Committee is, meanwhile, also flooding the India Meteorological Department with requests for weather forecasts during the Games fortnight. From September 15, specialised weather predictions will be made for them. “We already send them daily updates, but from September 15 we will be sending them updates for the next three or four days,” S C Bhan, director IMD, said.

Data available from the last year shows October received deficient rainfall between October 3 and 14. It only rained on two days — October 5 and 6 — the total of which came to 5.4 mm, about half an hour of mild drizzle. This year, however, the rains have been more. October is expected to have normal rainfall, which comes to 25.9 mm for the entire month. The Met department expects heavy downpour on Saturday as well. Sunday and Monday may see drizzles.

Games may have ‘hitches’: authorities
With exactly a month left for the Games, authorities on Friday admitted there may be some “hitches” but were optimistic that it will be a “great” event overall. “Preparations are going well. I am optimistic. It will be a great Games,” Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said on the sidelines of a publicity function here.

Surajkund parking to be used for Games

After much delay, the contentious issue of parking in Surajkund for the upcoming Commonwealth Games has finally been resolved. "The Faridabad administration, at the highest level, has decided to use the Surajkund mela parking for the Games," ACP (Traffic) Raj Kumar told HT on Friday.

"The parking space for about 2,000 vehicles during the Surajkund Mela will be used as Games parking," Rajesh Joon, officer in-charge, Haryana Tourism, Surajkund said.

With this decision, the residents and the developer of Kant Enclave, a private colony, are rejoicing.

It may be mentioned that the district administration was earlier in favour of using Kant Enclave, close to the shooting range —  for parking during the Games.

Trial runs leave public stranded

The trial runs of designated lanes for the Commonwealth Games led to general public having a hard time on Saturday. The rehearsals were conducted on Dhaula Kuan, SP Marg, Panchsheel Marg up to Hotel Samrat and on Vinay Marg to Panchsheel Marg T-point to Africa Avenue Outer Ring Road Under

The Delhi Traffic Police did not allow any sort of vehicular movement on these exclusive lanes during the trial period that lasted for three hours starting at 11 am.

Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ajay Chadha said: "All road users are expected to maintain the sanctity of the dedicated lanes. They should avoid getting into these lane and if they enter by mistake they should immediately come out."

Police gear up to keep city safe during fortnight of festivities

The fortnight beginning September 10 will be a security nightmare for the government and a huge challenge for the police force. It will begin with the journey of Queen’s Baton for Commonwealth Games through the city on September 10 and 11. This will coincide with the Ganpati festival on September 11 and Eid coinciding on the same day.

The Mount Mary fair will also take place in the same week. But what concerns the government the most is the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Babri Mosque dispute, expected to be announced on September 17 at Allahabad.

“We have requested people not to react in any way after the verdict comes out irrespective of which community they belong to. There will be about 2 per cent people who will react to the judgment, but we do not want to see others participating with them,” said Mumbai suburban Guardian Minister Naseem Khan, after conducting a meeting with the suburban ‘communal harmony and unity’ committee at Bandra on Saturday.

He has assured that the state police force will be present in full strength and more so at communally sensitive areas.

The baton, Khan said will be travelling on both the western and eastern express highways and might coincide with the Ganpati idols coming in on both the days.

“We will have special security set up at such areas to disperse crowds,” Khan said.

Senior officials of the home department said that adequate measures will be taken to make sure that there is tight
security and there is no communal tension in the state.

Meanwhile, Khan has asked the BMC to fill up all the potholes in suburban Mumbai on a warfooting basis.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta who was present at the meeting said that the continuous rains and absence of dry spells is preventing the civic body from filling up the potholes.

“It takes a 24-hour dry spell to fill in the potholes. Right now we are doing it in between of the five to six hour dry spell we are getting, but that is not too helpful. By the end of the week if there is no dry spell we will fill in the potholes with paver blocks,” Gupta said.

Saina apologises for terming 2010 CWG preparations 'not upto the mark'

Ace Indian shuttler and brand ambassador of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Saina Nehwal on Saturday evening regretted for describing preparations for the Commonwealth Games 2010 "not being up to the mark in comparison to the games held in Melobourne and Beijing on previous occasions."

Talking to mediapersons in Hyderbad in the evening, Saina said: "I am one of the good sports persons of the country and I want to do well in front of my home crowd and I am very proud that the Commonwealth Games are being held in India."

The shuttler added that she had participated in the stadiums in Delhi during the Asian badminton Championship and had a good time playing there.

"I denied the reports because I was a little disappointed after making the comments. It is not good on my part to say it as lots of people follow me," she said.

Earlier in the day, talking to reporters in Hyderabad on the sidelines of a function, Nehwal said: "Looking at the stadiums and looking at the progress, I don't really think we are capable of holding such big tournaments because you know, I have seen many Games like the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (in 2006) and Olympic Games in Beijing (in 2008). Compared to that it is not up to the mark. But I am sure that before 3rd of October it will be ready, and you know, people will like it. But with the comparisons of those games, things are not up to the mark."

On the controversies plaguing the Games, she said that it was common in India when such tournaments are held.

"It happens when such big tournaments are held in India, such controversies are there with the sports, but then, we can't do anything. We just have to prepare and be ready for the tournament," she added.

India is expecting about two million tourists in New Delhi for the Games, as well as about 10,000 athletes from 71 teams representing 54 Commonwealth member states, which will be held from October 3 to 14.

For this mega event, the Sports Ministry has spent an additional sum of 300 million rupees to upgrade and renovate the hostels of the Delhi University, as a measure of accommodation for the Games tourist.

The 12-day sporting extravaganza will be India's biggest sporting event since the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.

CWG: No security issues for champions

Britain's world diving champion Tom Daley says he has no security fears ahead of Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi next month.

The 16-year-old Daley will be one of England's most high-profile participants and believes the England team's security plans will ensure his safety and that the necessary arrangements have been made.

“I’m not really too worried about security, to be honest, because I know that I’m going to be able to trust Team England. I also know that I’m going to be able to trust the organisers of the Games to provide adequate Village security,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Similarly, in Sydney, Australia's triple Olympic Leisel Jones said on Friday she has no security or health concerns she has no security or health concerns about competing at Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi next month.

“India's going to be a great country, it's going to be full of colour, people go there on holiday all the time and really enjoy it and I think we're going to have a really great time,” Australian media reported Jones as saying at the unveiling of the team's formal uniform in Melbourne. “I think it is going to put on a great show, with great colours and awesome food.”

She further added that was satisfied with the security information provided by Australian government and team officials.

'Go India, Go for gold' campaign launched

With 29 days to go for the Commonwealth Games, the organising committee on Saturday launched a campaign to spread awareness about the mega event and muster support for the Indian sportspersons. Under the campaign titled -- 'Go India! Go for Gold' the OC in collaboration with HT Media and Muthoot Pappachan group will collect about one lakh hand imprints from citizens as a gesture of 'high five' in support of the Indian teams.

In the three-week campaign, canvases will be put up at various colleges, schools, markets, malls, and offices and it will culminate in a march on an undecided venue.

During that march, the canvases will put up on both sides of the road to form a wall, stretching up to 4-6 kms.

"Ultimately people after the games will ask how many medals India won. They will probably not talk how beautiful the stadium is. So this (campaign) is to encourage the sports persons," OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot said.

Bhanot was also the first person to put his hand imprint in green colour on a large canvas at the OC headquarter.

Anand Bhardwaj, Business Head (New Media Initiatives), HT Media said, "It's time that we celebrate and move forward. The objective of this campaign is to encourage the sportspersons."

Manomohanan, CEO of the Muthoot Capital Services, said this campaign will help the Indian athletes know the kind of expectations countrymen have from them.

"We believe it's time that awareness is spread. The athletes will know the burden of expectation they will be carrying during the Games," he said.

CWG to become part of school curriculum

The Commonwealth Games are set to become a part of the school curriculum in Delhi to get city's children involved in the event, the build-up to which has been been marred by corruption allegations and construction delays.

With less than a month to go for the Games, a programme was launched by Department of Art, Culture and Languages of the Delhi government to familiarise the children with the Games.

The initiative, 'Shera Mera Dost', is aimed at raising awareness about the Games online and get school students involved in the build-up to the event.

The site introduces a 45-day series of fun contests and activities in schools.

"Shera Mera Dost' the campaign was conceptualised by team of school principals, teachers," says Reena Ray, Principal secretary for Education, Art, Culture and Languages in the Delhi government.

She encouraged the students to log on to the microsite on Delhi Tourism website and mention one good deed of any generosity that they would have done to make a difference to Delhi.

Online facility for writing to a favourite sport star along with voicing opinions for issues in Delhi will also be among the other features available.

"Let us be good hosts and dress up your home," Ray added.

"We will be taking up one country and each one of them will be given to a class so they can research on it and know about the country, its culture, landscape and sports-persons," said principal of Sanskriti School, Abha Sahgal.

"This initiative will create a sense pride for the country among the children," she added.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was present on the occasion, urged the students to come forward and participate in the campaign.

"If children are not involved, the work is not even quarter done," said Dikshit.

"We want children of Delhi to participate in the event. I want to tell you come out and watch, come out and play, come out and smile, come out and enjoy and above all come out and welcome everybody who comes here so that everybody goes back with a lifetime memory," she said.

Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the CWG Organising Committee, hoped that with this, the Games would finally generate some positivity after weeks of critical reporting in the media.

"For the first time, the Commonwealth Games are coming to India. You are aware that India is a land of cricket and more cricket. You have to learn about Olympic sports also. I want you to change your mindset. We need your support," said Kalmadi.

"We want to make the Commonwealth Games a success.

Everyone should participate," said Vaibhav, a class ninth student from R.P.V sector 10 Dwarka.

Palash Sen and his band Euphoria revved up the atmosphere with their song 'Delhi Meri Jaan' to which Dikshit gave her voice and Shera the Mascot swayed with the children. 

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