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Sam Foster
Upper Sixth
School House

Delhi cooks up a treat

Delhi cooks up a treat

After 11 days of competition in 17 different sports by 71 nations, the 19th Commonwealth Games has come to an end.

A total of 272 gold medals were dished out — that's a lot of precious metal. But as a way of reminding ourselves of what Delhi was all about, why don't we dish out a few more?

About 8,000 sports persons of 52 countries participated in the Games. There were 17 major types of sporting events that included athletics, swimming, gymnastics, hockey, cycling, weightlifting and boxing. Opening and closing ceremonies of the Game Delhi were held in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The games started on 3rd October and closed on 14th October 2010.

It is easy to forget, now that the Games have drawn to a close that they came fairly close to never happening at all. Even Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the Delhi organising committee admitted that, at the height of all the problems with the athletes' village, he had feared that some teams would withdraw. So, it was quite an adventure over the past month for all of those involved in this project — organisers, team officials, competitors and media.

It's always difficult to know how to measure the success of any event like this. For example is it really fair to compare Delhi with Melbourne, the host city in 2006? Australia has such vast experience in putting on major events, whereas this was India's first multi-sport event since the 1982 Asian Games. Perhaps a more reasonable question is: Did Delhi manage to do more than the ‘rest of the world’ predicted?

In the fortnight before the Games began, the athletes' village was described as uninhabitable, a footbridge had collapsed, hardly any tickets had been sold and, above all, there were major concerns about security. Since the Games began, there were no problems, or at least no injuries anyway. Yes, a scoreboard collapsed at the rugby sevens ground, but that was days before the competition started there. Most of the venues were actually very impressive, and, again, the feedback from athletes was positive. Finally, to tickets: The first few days were terrible — at times there was hardly a spectator in sight. But the past few days have been remarkable. From boxing to hockey to athletics to table tennis, the venues were packed out. If the reason for taking the Commonwealth Games to Delhi was to encourage the people of India to support new sports, then without any doubt at all these Games have been a resounding success.

Overall, after such a nervy start before things even began, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi turned into a phenomenal event and one can only hope that Glasgow can live up to what is now expected after Melbourne 06 and this, different but equally impressive event.

9 November 2010

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