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My Last Word
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My Last Word: part 1: CWG a grand success (10/20/2010)
--K. Arumugam
My Last Word: Part I: Common Wealth Games a grand success

“Thank you Delhi, you have delivered truly an exceptional (Common Wealth) Games”. This was the concluding sentence of Mike Fennel, Chief, Common Wealth Games Federation, in his speech at the impressive closing ceremony delivered at the Nehru Stadium which had a packed capacity of 60,000.

If at all one needed a certificate for the grand success of the biggest ever Common Wealth Games, this should suffice.

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But what Jamie Dywer observed in his interview published in the ‘Village News’ gives better perspective from players’ point of view about the Games and the much talked about Games Village in particular.

“News back in Australia was a little negative. I think they did not understand that Indians do things differently and I always knew that all the things would be in place before we arrive. The facilities and the food is especially way above expectations. I love being here and have always found India and Indians very hospitable. It was sad of what all was said earlier on but when we arrived we saw different picture altogether and I for one knew from day one that things would be fine. I guess the Australian media looked for bad things everywhere and were a little negative but we had been here in March and we knew how things would be”

Fennel and Dwyer’s view endorse the organizational capability and financial muscle of the country. But what made us happier is the fact that India doubled its medals count and finished second in the over-all medals tally ahead of hitherto challengers England, Canada, Kenya etc. We thank for this Government of India and Sports Authority of India who spent about Rs. 650 Cr. for teams’ preparation. The feat has been achieved despite useless National Sports Federations.

Thanks to media over kill, the run up to the Games was not inspiring. Other than corruption charges, none of the issues (leaking infrastructure for instance) the media recklessly raked up day in and out proved to be baseless in the end.

From the day one, especially after the spectacular Opening Ceremony which captured the nation’s imagination, Olympic sports dominated the Indian psyche, despite being a historic India-Australia cricket test series being held simultaneously, whose results dramatically went in favour of India. As a citizen of Delhi, two things that expected pose problem did not turn out to be so. First is security and the second is transport. Both problems I faced during the World Cup, and it was expected things go bad for the mela proper.

Very honestly speaking, the security drills we ultimately had to undergo was less than what we observed during the World Cup. There was unnecessarily three ring security then, even coins were not allowed inside, water prohibited etc etc. Now, once the scanner in the first gate read your barcode, and your photo and you appear on the monitor, there is no second ring to do the same. You are free. Spectators were allowed to carry even camera, a happy turn around compared to over-cautious and excited security of the World Cup.

Regarding the media facilities, I already covered it. Suffice to say it will be difficult for any hockey organizers to exceed the bench mark.

Sahara Family, which sponsors Indian hockey for so many years, contributed in its mite with the supply of volunteers and pitching in money. Their contribution to the success of the Games is heartening for us because after all its their logo our hockey heroes wore

Its another coincidence that the same Hero Honda which sponsored March World Cup Hockey, has been Partner of the CWG, and their biggies were present at the hockey stadium for big ticket matches. Those two private organizations involvement over all lifted the profile of the CWG while we in hockey family are glad the brands that support hockey are etched in the Olympic sports firmament.

Incidentally, these two behemoths came to Olympic sports through Hockey. Here comes the role of hockey in Indian sporting world. If CWG is a success, what is the role of hockey, our national game. This we will see in the next part.

Note: Some people still feel the CWG is a flop because they don’t like the face of the CWG, Suresh Kalmadi. The question here is, success of the Games is success of India, not the success of any individual. Kalmadi is nobody’s hero, that is a different subject. We need not led India down to keep an individual down. Our assessment of the Game need not be an official based, it should be athletes and reality based.

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