…..Just returned from New Delhi last night after celebrating daughter’s birthday with her Team India u 16 Womens Football Mates and seeing them off to Jordan last night for the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA u 17 Womens World Cup
….son and I were keen to see some Commonwealth Games Action…on October 6th evening we had driven down to Siri Fort Sports Complex to catch some Squash and Badminton….the servers were down…so while the Games were on inside the Stadium,we were out waiting for half an hour for the servers to come back on to buy tickets ….we decided to buy for the next day as we had to rush back to Team India Dinner and daughters birthday celebrations…we also picked up Rs 200 tickets for October 7th evening session for the Athletics at the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium…..
…..yesterday we were again unable to catch Siri Fort action for Squash and Badminton as we were with my daughter till she left for the airport late afternoon 4.30 pm……we had an evening flight ourselves at 7.45 pm to catch for Mumbai….but where there is a will there is a way and we held tickets….so we rushed to JN Stadium…..heavy traffic as you approach it as we could not use the demarcated CWG Lane on our road which is meant only for VVIPs,Athletes and Organisers….had to alight and walk over one km to reach Gate 14 to enter JN Stadium….the line for tickets was huge…thankfully we had ours already…..two level security with hitech cameras and scanners…no coins allowed….special boxes kept for them…compulsory donation…..we raced in eager to see the Stadium from inside and also buy some Games Souvenirs …..None were available anywhere !….all tents that were put up for these were either closed or empty !…Volunteers were themselves deploring Organisers for their lack of management and foresight to rake in rich revenues from such sale…No Caps…No T Shirts…not even a Flag or a small keychain !….son was terribly disappointed
….however the inside of the Stadium is awesome….Live TV can never replicate or capture the Live Aura and Live Buzz of a Lively Stadium…..even though the stadium was not full the buzz was infectious…..we had to leave soon to catch our flight…..we were impressed….but were told my a spectator who had attended the Opening Ceremony that the Crowd Managment outside was disastrous then…Rs 50000 Ticket Holders were in the same Q as those holding the minimum Rs 1000 tickets….Children and Women were being trampled and pushed and it took Two and a Half hours to just get in !….the Organising was simply awful….when I told this to a Delhi Friend,she said “Yeh hee Delhi hai meri jaan !”….Most of Delhi is least bothered about these Games…they have been poorly planned,poorly managed and poorly marketed….even the Airport had no Commonwealth Games Booth for Information or Merchandise Sales….The Flags and Banners on some routes were valiantly trying to spread some CWG Cheer and Spirit…..Tourists from overseas were spotted few and far between….one would have expected they would swamp New Delhi for these Games…..clearly seems the huge and sustained anti Games Organising media hype the past few months has been successful in keeping some top athletes from participating at these Games as well as overseas visitors
In 1982,when fourteen of us College friends had gone to the Asian Games in Delhi,the mood was electrifying…we had stood in Lines overnight in Mumbai for the tickets to various Venues and Sports Discipines….Delhi was colourful and Janpath and Connaught Place were bustling and lively till late night with even Games Athletes and Visitors from countries the world over strolling around all over…..this time the Athletes are cocooned within their Games Village when they are not at the Stadium…they are ferried in Buses with a Weapon toting Guard in each and piloted by security vehicles in front and rear…..the ugly reality of Terrorism now in 2010….1982 did not have to confront this
…..Oh ! this time I did get to meet our legendary Golden Athlete Girl from Kerala,P T Usha….sad but not surprising she was overlooked to be invited for the opening ceremony….took a photo with her and she autographed my ticket…..India has a Glorious Past…and she,who we nicknamed ‘The Pavyoli Express’ (she comes from there) is a glorious part of our recent past….must respect her
….as I left Delhi with this first hand experience of the Games at two of the Venues,I am convinced and confident that India can host the Olympics brilliantly but the Organisation Committee and the Indian Olympic Association should be completely revamped….. Men and Women of impeccable calibre,reknown,integrity and organisational skills should be at the helm…not politicians with vested interests and their cronies….an impeccable source told me ” Gaurav,this City Administration and these Organising Committee Members have bestowed great largesse on their own brethren and circles….appointing them in some capacity in the organisation of these CWG Games….each one has earned Rs 45 lakhs to Rs 60 lakhs in the past two years for this…..all these people and organisations are hoping,actually banking,that as time lapses we,the public shall all forget about them
….as for the scale of Corruption of thousands of crores in awarding Infrastructure Construction and Other Contracts….it matches the 2G Telecom Scam….this is another sad fact of life in India that where there is big money involved there will be an even bigger stink !…..be it in our Stock markets or in the Organisation of these Games…..
…….However I’m confident the Youth of our Country in all fields of Life will change this fact in the years ahead
…….there is already an increasing buzz that the Closing Ceremony on October 14th will be even better than the spectacular Opening one….tickets for these are priced from Rs 750 to Rs 40000….the JN stadium will be packed to 60000 capacity….Daughter returns to New Delhi from Jordan early morning of 14th…Son has volunteered to go to Delhi to bring her back to Mumbai….. wants to take her to the Closing Ceremony on 14th evening and then fly back to Mumbai on 15th……tempted to go along too !…..maybe will get some CWG merchandise then !