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Pleasure in athletics success can't mask gap in class

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Tom Fordyce | 18:47 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

If it started with a whimper, against a background of last-minute track repairs and with the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium dreadfully empty, it finished with a barely believable noise as 60,000 screaming Indians roared their 4x400m women to an utterly unexpected gold.

It was a wonderful way for the seven days of athletics at the 2010 Commonwealth Games to finish. But what of the action that came before?

We knew before coming to Delhi that many big names would not be joining us. There would be no Usain, no Asafa, no Rudisha and no Ennis.

The optimists hoped that others would emerge to fill that star-sized vacuum. A few did. Athlete of the championships was surely Uganda's Moses Kipsiro, winner of a fine 5,000m and 10,000m distance double against the odds and might of Kenya; Amantle Monsho's 400m gold was both Botswana's first ever Commonwealth gold and also a Games record.

Look beyond those two, and the gap between what we saw and what would be considered world class began to gape.

India's victorious women's 4x400m quartet celebrate their country's first Commonwealth track title since 1958.

India's victorious women's 4x400m quartet celebrate their country's first Commonwealth track title since 1958. Photo: Getty

"I'll go away thinking Delhi is a very cool place," says Jonathan Edwards, who won Commonwealth triple jump gold in Manchester eight years ago. "Unfortunately the quality just hasn't been there.

"You just can't deny that the standards have been disappointing. For me it's not enough that some races were competitive - athletics is measured as much by numbers as medals.

"You do get weaker years with some events even at the Olympics, and while the triple jump here wasn't great, it was about the same back in 1994. But some events here in Delhi were so disappointing. The women's long jump was won with 6.50m, the triple jump by just over 14m. There just hasn't been the depth of quality across the Commonwealth."

That lack of depth meant that some of the big names who did come to Delhi were never forced out of second gear.

"I'm really struggling to think of world-class performances," says three-time Commonwealth gold medallist Steve Cram. "Sally Pearson's 100m hurdles was in that category, but Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker could relax all the way through his competition.

"We only had 11 entries for the 110m hurdles. That's not good. We only had 14 women in the 400m hurdles. The Commonwealth Games are meant to have some breadth - some world-class athletes, some emerging, and some representing the fact that these are the Friendly Games - but here some of the competition was very sparse. There were too many straight finals and too many cancelled heats."

The night before competition began, there were genuine fears that the stadium would not be ready. Repairs were still being made to the track at the 1500m start line, the in-field grass still being laid.

Come the following afternoon, all was in place. Unfortunately, further organisational mistakes would blight the rest of the week.

You could take your pick - Sally Pearson winning 100m gold, celebrating on a lap of honour and walking out for her medal ceremony only to then be told that she'd been disqualified; the women's 200m final being postponed a day after a delay in the appeals protest following another controversial disqualification; New Zealand's Stuart Farquhar throwing 77m in the javelin final, only to find the officials initially recording it as 72m.

The welcome from security and behind-the-scenes staff at the stadium was wonderfully warm throughout the week. It made it a pleasure to be here. But those very avoidable errors out in the middle cast a lengthy shadow.

"I was never once told the truth or told what was going on," said Pearson, who behaved with immense dignity throughout her unfortunate experience. "I don't think that was fair. This is our careers."

"There was a struggle to set the athletics alight," says Cram. "If you were to send the results around the athletics world, no-one would be thinking that these were a great championships.

"Because of that, we might remember these Commonwealths more for those organisational issues and for how some of the problems were handled.

"The officials who are here have been under too much pressure, because there haven't been enough people here with the right level of experience. The good ones have had to try to cover the cracks left by the others."

Dai Greene on the way to winning 400m hurdles gold for Wales in Delhi

Wales' Dai Greene added to his European gold by winning the Commonweath 400m hurdles title. Photo: Getty

From an international perspective, Kenya's decision to send a full and top-class team was rewarded with top place in the medal table. From the point of view of the home nations, Wales' Dai Greene and England's golden pair of Leon Baptiste and Louise Hazel were the stand-out performers. Scotland's Steph Twell confirmed once again that she is developing into a runner of the highest quality.

"The winning is tough to do," says double Commonwealth gold medallist Colin Jackson. "They have to take the events by the scruff of the neck and I think competitors from the home nations have done that well."

What of those British stars who decided to stay at home?

"Sometimes it's hard to get a real commitment from top athletes," says Jackson. "They've had a long season which has included the World Championships. They are now going for 2012 and they have to work out where the Commonwealth Games fits in their schedules.

"For Dai Greene it worked and fitted in perfectly with his plans. For Jessica Ennis it didn't. It's a personal thing. Me? I would have done it and I would have made it work."

The atmosphere in the grandstands can often make or break an athletics meet. Here in Delhi we had the full range, from a ghostly silence on the first two nights to the defeaning bedlam of the final night.

"When they've been here they've been brilliant," says Cram. "We had around 40,000 people in the stadium on Saturday and Sunday, and we'd struggle to get that in the UK after five days of action.

"At times the atmosphere was very refreshing - they haven't always understood the etiquette, but they've made a heck of a noise. At other times it was extraordinary. When India won discus gold, the whole place erupted. When they won the 400m relay, I've honestly never heard a noise like it, even at an Olympic Games."

What of the future of athletics at the Commonwealths? Two days into the Games, former England medallist Darren Campbell wondered if the next edition should be held as an under-23 championships.

"I think the feel of the next Commonwealth Games will be vastly different," says Jackson. "The successful domestic athletes will want to go after 2012, while the ones who failed will want to prove a point. I think there will be more top names in Glasgow too."

From a personal point of view, what made the competition for me was the pleasure some took in their success.

Whether it was the face of Mark Lewis-Francis as he blitzed the final leg of the 4x100m to snatch gold from Jamaica's back pocket, Pearson's joy as she put the nightmare of the 100m behind her to take the hurdles title, or the reaction in the stands all around me as India's heroines stormed to that historic relay gold, the emotion was impossible to ignore, and impossible not to be touched by.

That, really, was the delight of Delhi.


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  • Comment number 1.

    The timing of the games did not help. In 2006 Jamaica sent a full strength squad. This year they sent a development squad.

    With the WC next, the top athletes or looking forward to that.

    Why bother with the CWG?

  • Comment number 2.

    Indeed Mr. Fordyce,
    There have been substandard performances at these Commonwealth games-and not just in Athletics.

    This has been in large part due to the absence of leading English and other British performers.

    How appropriate, then, that a substandard games medal table should be dominated by Australia,a nation that is arguably gently subsiding into sporting mediocrity.

  • Comment number 3.

    i enjoyed the athletics

  • Comment number 4.

    Even if this was held in a proper time slot and not at the back end of the year the quality would still be the same just papered over by the stars. Mean Bolt and Powell could afford to have a sandwich half way through the race considering how far ahead they are. To make it an under 23 nah not needed the next games will be held at the hight of the season in Glasgow and I assume that Australia will get the 2018 and therefore that will be held around the same time as Melbourne was so a nice warm up to the season

  • Comment number 5.

    as someone from the falkland islands now living in the uk to those who call the cwg, in australia, new zealand, canada, isle of man & everywhere else the chance to represent your country is such an honour you would go to the moon if required,in good old uk its whats in it for me! how many athletes/swimmers from australia pulled out? its disire and passion at representing your nation and unfortunaly here in uk its sorley lacking !!

  • Comment number 6.

    Erm, what barmy erm it's not only the Brits who pulled out. 1 Brit pulled out because of secrity 1 from tiredness the rest are injured or have a more important championship just round the corner, it's got nothing to do with a lack of passion

  • Comment number 7.

    When the Games are held at the right time of the year and don't conflict with other championships they get a far higher quality field, that's not exactly rocket science. Also these Games will always be variable in quality from event to event.

    Having said that, many world class competitors DID make the trip so it is puzzling why the likes of Ennis etc thought it would impact on their 2011 World Championships chances. Nobody is fooled.

    Also isn't a bit rich that journalists like this one, now decrying the standards in Delhi, were the very same ones eagerly propagating hysterical scare stories a fortnight or so ago, stories which no doubt encouraged the likes of Idowu to cry off.

    Have the honesty to admit that you people are part of the reason for the lack of quality you are now bleating about.

  • Comment number 8.

    ' as someone from the falkland islands now living in the uk to those who call the cwg, in australia, new zealand, canada, isle of man & everywhere else the chance to represent your country is such an honour you would go to the moon if required,in good old uk its whats in it for me! how many athletes/swimmers from australia pulled out? its disire and passion at representing your nation and unfortunaly here in uk its sorley lacking'

    No thats from your perspective. For the Falkland Island athletes it a huge honor because its likely none of them would get anywhere near an Olympics! For a lot of UK athletes it is far from the pinnacle - that pinnacle tends to be Olympics and the individual sports World Championships.

    AND plenty of Australian athletes pulled out...AND hardly any UK swimmers pulled out. Those on display were the best the UK has.

    ACTUALLY the Aussies were leading the bandwagon criticising the games before it started, having athletes pull out left , right and centre. BUT as you live in a UK bublle you probably did not read the Aussie press.

  • Comment number 9.

    Barmyarmy01 - Yes some British athletes pulled out mostly in Athletics, Cycling & Gymnastics. (you are showing your ignorance by mentioning swimming as we did send full strength swimming teams)

    However athletes from all over the Commonwealth chose not to compete including numerous Caribbean & Candian athletes. The only top teams to send anything approaching their A team were Australia & Kenya and even then the likes of David Rudisha & Dani Samuels were missing.

    I think it's really important that the top athletes do attend these championships in the future otherwise the future of the Games will be called into question. I am certain the home athletes will all compete in Glasgow and hope other countries send their top athletes too.

    I have loved watching Commonwealth Games in the past but I couldn't get too enthused about the athletics here because of the absentees - I was watching the Hockey earlier and missed some of the athletics which I don't think I would have done in the past. My highlights of the Games in the athletics were the Indian Women winning the 4X400 and Louise Hazel winning the Heptathlon.

  • Comment number 10.

    Barmy - who is the biggest name missing from Delhi?

    Usain Bolt? Is he British? No he is from JAMAICA.

  • Comment number 11.

    Oh boo hoo .... Before the games began all we heard is ....this is bad , that is bad .... Now that the games are happening , rather than celebrating the festival of sport .... All we hear is that genuine performances are wining not because of merit but because some poor ol scared athletes (who did not have sportsman spirit in the first place), did not attend. Grow up people ! No one stopped anyone from coming to the games. Those who didn't, missed out on their own (scared) accord,

    Let's stop finding faults with a developing nation trying to find a place for itself after years of colonialism and oppression. Let's celebrate the fact that a festival of sport is happening and the most deserving competitors are winning! Bad luck to those who sat at home and good luck to those who had the right sense to compete for their countries and for their own careers"

  • Comment number 12.

    Over the many years I grew up in Oz we were always taught to be proud to compete. Olympic success for Australia has taken along time particularly the winter games. Whether we took gold or not wasn't the be all and end all though.
    I was in the UK for the soccer world cup and English fans and media were under the impression that it was their destiny to win the world cup as they were the best team in the world. When it was clear this wouldn't happen they even booed their team off the field at one point as they were certain none of the players had tried very hard (Yep like that's gonna happen).
    This mentality is where the problem lies in English sport. Too much is exspected of the atheletes by the crazed fans and media. It's almost as if noone really follows the true form of the athletes or the teams. (probably why Ladbrokes is so successful). There always seems to be this assumption that England should just win.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Substandard teams, development squads... who cares! For the athletes that have competed, this has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in a multi-sport, multi-nation competition against and in an emerging country of over 1.2 billion people (almost 20% of humanity). Only the Olympics can match the magnitude of this event. None of the specialized competitions or world championships come even close although they might offer more prize money.

  • Comment number 15.

    When it was clear this wouldn't happen they even booed their team off the field at one point as they were certain none of the players had tried very hard

    They get booed all the time cause they get paid more than anyone else and perform like rubbish, and have no passion, man they got booed tonight so I don't know what your point that your making with the football team

  • Comment number 16.

    And as soon as they go back to their clubs they play like we know they can. So that's why their booed nothing to do with thinkin that they don't try hard enough, we KNOW they don't

  • Comment number 17.

    However much you are paying this bloke - save it up and buy some sweets.

  • Comment number 18.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hate to be a bit of a downer but I think athletics in general is nowhere near as popular as its screen-time suggests, probably due to the fact that most of the events have been irreperably damaged by drugs, the Commonwealth is a complete irrelevence and that India was a terrible choice for hosting nation.

    Why is any of this a surprise to anyone? There's only 2 high-flying sporting nations in the event, and one of those countries has to be split into into its constituent parts so as to increase the competition.

  • Comment number 20.

    This is a little off subject but I hope you don't mind:
    Having been a BBC viewer, listener and (more recently) reader for over 40 years, I know the importance the corporation attaches to name pronuncations. With this in mind, could you please pass on the following corrections to the relevant members of the BBC games coverage team:

    1. Arjun (as in the Indian hockey player) needs to be pronounced (as written) Arh-jun and not as in the Dutch (e.g. footballer) Ae-eon. (I'll be looking out for this during India's hockey final against Australia on Thursday)

    2. The Indian surname Kaur is given to female Sikhs (males being Singh). It is pronounced Core (as in apple core) not Cawer as I've heard it on several occassions during these games.

  • Comment number 21.

    Though I agree competition isn't exactly world class.. but when has Commonwealth ever been...

    Btw.. just came across this..

    "The Delhi Commonwealth Games have been marred by a slew of star pullouts and various other controversies, but has already registered the highest number of records and more are expected with five more days to go. The Delhi edition already has seen 81 Games records lowered till Saturday, ahead of second highest 70 in 2002 in Manchester and nearly double that of the 41 marks set in 2006 in Melbourne.
    In Manchester, records in weightlifting were counted separately for snatch, clean and jerk and total lift.

    Out of the 81 Games records so far in this edition, a whopping 30 came from swimming while weightlifting contributed 12. Cycling and shooting have 11 Games records each while athletics contributed 10.

    The 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur had 27 Games records, while the 1994 edition had 45. The number of Games records was 26 in 1990, 19 in 1986, five in 1982, three each in 1978 and 1974 and six in 1970.

    In earlier years the records tally stood at 35 in 1966, seven in 1962, four in 1958, two in 1954, four in 1950, one in 1938, eight in 1934 and three in 1930."

    Surely, you are comparing the field with previous Commonwealth Games, and not with Olympics... or are you??

  • Comment number 22.

    "they haven't always understood the etiquette" - er.. who are you to decide what the correct etiquette is? The event is in India, the crowd will decide. So, thanks, but please keep the etiquette in your bin.

    Sally Pearson false started. She knew it. She chose to ignore it. Officials didn't. She knew it was coming. Nothing to be sour about.

    The story so far has been the 4*400m Indian gold. !! AWESOME !!

  • Comment number 23.

    "Knowledge is good" I think you just made my think the English are better than the really are. You simple refuse to accept reality.

  • Comment number 24.

    Sports and life very much parallel one another. If you don't start enjoying the game soon then your going to miss out big time.
    The final result really doesn't matter. Seriously ask yourself how does the final result matter to your life after a few hours or days.
    There's nothing you can do to chnage the score, but you can enjoy the game whilst it's still being played.

    I'll bet you fifty bucks we all kick the bucket in the end.

  • Comment number 25.

    Thewaughtwins - maybe your Ozzie athletes and their supporters are more appreciative of taking part,and representing their country(win or lose). Bringing other sports into the debate does not back this up,though. I seem to remember that before each of the last two Ashes series in England,your boys were expected to win 5-0. No pressure there,then!
    I also seem to recall the fact that many Australian observers pointed out the fact that you had better batting and bowling stats than England in the last series,and how unfair this was in a losing side.They forgot that the only statistic that mattered was 2-1,

    Yes, our football team IS over-hyped, but we're not alone. Wales and Rugby Union; ditto NZ. The Yanks over hype their sports,but with the exception of Basketball,no-one else cares.

    The most over-hyped area of sport in Britain is the Premier League- but that's the fault of Rupert Murdoch - now where did he come from?

  • Comment number 26.

    Only complains...
    1). Venues are not ready for the games , games are in danger .... then everything is fabulous
    2). Security issues – Seems fine
    3) Village is not ready, not cleaned, saw some filthy pictures -- Athletes also admitted that the facilities are best they have enjoyed ever in any common wealth games
    4) Not enough spectators... now stadiums are jam-packed
    5) Not quality games – I have been watching games since beginning, in some games this might be the case but some of the games are really exciting, fabulous and made good records

    I have serious doubts on media reporting now....... showing only one side of the coin

  • Comment number 27.

    These Commonwealth Games have been fantastic. They really are the friendly games, and reminded us of what sport is all about. With the pressure of the Olympics absent, the joy of the competing athletes has been clear for all to see.

    The British athletes who pulled-out should be ashamed of themselves, having done nothing to promote their sport. If they are on lottery funding, it should be withdrawn.

    And isn't India a great country? OK, so they are pretty hopeless at organisation (and cleaning toilets, apparently), but they have a wonderful wide-eyed enthusiasm and innocence about sport which the West lost 50 years ago. I'm afraid the British crowd at the 2010 Olympics will only raise a fraction of the noise that the Indian crowd produced during that women's 4x100m relay.

  • Comment number 28.

    you silly boy Tom, showing your true colours again .. stop moaning ... we are a bloody nation of moaners .... IT DOES NOT STOP OTHERS FROM ENJOYING LIFE ,, whimps

  • Comment number 29.

    Well said No.7! But sadly, that's the nature of modern journalism: create a crisis and then milk it for all it's worth.

    Interesting info No.21. It certainly doesn't look as if standards are falling then, does it.

    @ 22: you obviously missed the discussion earlier this week about crowd behaviour. My own take was that each sport has its own etiquette and it is up to the organizers to instruct the crowd accordingly, and enforce standards, if necessary. In other words, it is unfair to expect enthusiastic crowds to observe rules if they haven't been told what those rules are. That is part of the job of those officiating at the events.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 27: if this is true (makes a nice antidote anyway), and I am gradually getting the same impression, despite occasional lapses, then surely that is all we could have asked of these Games. It would be so nice at the end to be able to say "Well done India! It wasn't perfect, but mistakes are part of the learning curve and we've all had a really good time, nevertheless." How much nicer to have a friendly major sporting event, spiced by healthy rivalry, than the substance fueled Cold War animosities. Perhaps the world is going in the right direction after all :o)

  • Comment number 31.

    We british are selfish...oh yes we are. We are a nation of selfish footballers who can strike goal after goal in club matches for their russian owners but put their tails in between their legs when it comes to the World Cup. We are a nation of atheletes who cite petty excuses and who expect royal treatment from host nations when they themselves dont actually come from that affluent background. We are a nation of polititions who would stoop to deepest coruption levels and 'GULP' our hard earned taxes. We are nation of greedy bankers who use the national wealth as their dad's piggy bank and who have gambled our nations future. And we are a nation who have invested world sports like tennis, football, cricket....but aren't world class in any. One Tom Fordyce doesn't add much to that, but we would be happy atleast he reports the truth. I wonder what he would report like during London Olympics. Probably the growing lawlwssness in the vicinity of Stratford??

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    If silvers were the best England would have won. I cant help feeling that it demonstrates a degree of underachieving. Not so individually but overall. Maybe Glasgow will b e different.
    I do think there needs to be a reassessment of events.
    Fewer gymnastics and swimming events and we should include rowing especially as apart from the Eastern Europeans the key stars are from the commonwealth excepting the good old USA.
    As I am part Welsh part English resident in Australia and born in Pakistan I believe its time to drop the artificial separation of the home countries as it should be in soccer.

  • Comment number 34.

    i'm not an athelete, but curious to know if weather conditions are a factor when benchmarking what is a good performance - isn't a few hundredths of a second worth more in the delhi heat than it is in the pleasant english summer? can an athelete who is used to sprinting in 40-50% humidity be expected to perform to the same level in 83% humidity in 30 Celsius? if not, then looking at timings on the track to compare against world and games records is a highly misleading exercise..

    on the etiquette factor, it's true that the vast majority of the spectators have very little understanding of some of the less ubiquitous games such as archery, diving etc. the officials are definitely responsible to use their common sense and simply say "silence please" to the crowd - i'm sure i can remember many instances where the wimbledon chair umpire has had to ask the crowd to keep quiet when (a tremendously overrated) henman has a break point.. but i don't think that crowd noise is unfair per se, in a swimming or diving competition surely every swimmer is affected equally so it's not unfair on anyone in particular, and the ability to focus and concentrate is part of the game..

    the bit i was surprised about were the insects on the lawn bowls pitch..those beetles and moths were seriously affecting gameplay and the physics of the game..they should have done something about that.

    @Andrew Thomas - i agree the british crowd will struggle to input as much passion into the 2012 games, unfortunately a large section will use it as an excuse for consuming large amounts of alcohol and getting a tan.

    all in all, well done india for building what many now believe to be the best cwg village ever in more than one way and for generating the enthusiasm necessary to encourage sporting excellence in a country where family attitudes are negatively skewed against sport and towards academia. and to the indian sportsmen who have flourished under home support and have well and truly launched indian sports into the big league in multiple disciplines.. what remains to be done after the close is a post mortem on the failures and introspection by the indian govt of the intense anger that indian citizens like myself feel towards them. but that is india's problem and india's problem only, one that will take a long time to change for good.

  • Comment number 35.

    Hats off to the UK swimmers for making an effort and staking a claim on te world stage as a GREAT UK TEAM. As for the rest with their: niggles: "security issues"; tiredness etc, you'll all be pleased to know that there won't be any 'Delhi Belly' in Glasgow - or do you want to get your excuses in now.

    I certainly know where my vote will be going in the BBC Sports personality of the year.

  • Comment number 36.

    Also we should include 3 day eventing and sailing. Maybe reduce the number of shooting and cut tennis as none of the medallists apart from the Indian lady have ever got past the second round at the major tennis events.
    It would make more sense including golf canoeing and orienteering.
    So basically more events but fewer categories from each sport. It is good to see the para events but to be fair there probably needs to be a separate program perhaps straight after the main program, as there were many categories not included.

  • Comment number 37.

    How about indoor soccer and cricket and we could have 5 a side soccer too.

  • Comment number 38.

    Also surf events and ocean swimming as well as triathlon. Essentially the events should reflect what people do rather that obscure ideas like synchronised swimming and diving.
    Also we should indeed say well done India but in the future we should have a permanent venue on one of the cash strapped pacific Islands where every country dips into the money pot to pay for it and cut opening and closing ceremonies which no longer have much relevance any more.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why not monkey tennis the real one is almost like it! Just joking and yes I used to play some tennis and am a couch spectator its just that I am not really interested in watching the third and forth level stuff I might just as well go and watch the local club competitions.

  • Comment number 40.

    Maybe one reason Australians are more successful at the commonwealth games is due to the paucity of international events in this part of the world as Australia and New Zealand only really have the panpacs (very competitive but that is only swimming) and don't even take part in the Asian games, and also the timing suits southern hemisphere sports people better.

  • Comment number 41.

    I have just downloaded Lord Coe's interview to the BBC on the Delhi CWG. If there is anyone out there who doubts what the power of sport can achieve and the legacy it can leave behind just hear what Lord Coe has got to say. He speaks far more sense then many who are more concerned about how you will get your next cappuccino or those closeted delegates who simply talk about sharing the global capacity of sport.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 34: agree with both your opening points.

    @ 41: good recommendation. Will try to check it out.

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think who ever is not got a single medal in delhi finding the excuses to morn about delhi,so they can escape from critics,why waisting taxpayers money?just wonder our sports people only trained to competent in europe and US only?

  • Comment number 45.

    Im not sure this think competition arguement cuts much ice with amny people. If some people didnt turn up. Its their loss not Delhi's. Most Olympic medallists do not repeat their feats becoz some other star is born. Most sports do not produce records in big events, they do so in obscure ones...The 6.5 m long jump is less than the world record etc but it surely will lift one or two others to go beyond their normal standards.The CWG will not be very different i 10-15 more people particpate as they will in Glasgow...hmm were they asked to stay back to take the gloss off this CWG? Moot point.

  • Comment number 46.

  • Comment number 47.

    We are back at "Let us find something negative" routine.
    Is this same Jonathan Edwards who was blasting organizer a day before for repairs. I will take his biased opinion over reality.

    I found BBC's coverage expert at creating paranoid.
    With disrespectable treatment of Kalmadi(he may be incompetent but India will deal with him after Commonwealth); creating mountain of "Delhi Belly", "water quality of swimming pool non-issue; bitching about tight security after issuing the pull out threat.

    How friendly are commonwealth friends is evident with BBC's coverage of Village fiasco and Mike Duffy's security scare.

    It may be billed as "Shame Games" but BBC is part of shame also.

    Enough Already, India should strike back with vengeance now.
    These are sports not an avenue for someone's inner self bigotry

  • Comment number 48.

    Everyone knows Sally Pearson goofed it up in 100m, so kindly stop blaming CWG Delhi for that.

  • Comment number 49.

    Athletes came, they played and enjoyed, people came, watched, cheered and jeered. At the end fans got their money worth (and perhaps more). Who cares about some "VIP" athlete giving it a miss. Not me atleast.

  • Comment number 50.

    Oh - let the second-raters also have their time in the sun. We can't go on about the class of the field all the time: when Mo Farah won gold at the Europeans, everyone agreed that you can only beat whoever is running against you. The top 1% of the world's athletes, save for the Kenyans and the Jamaicans, are not even eligible for the CWG, so it helps nothing to keep going on about how it would all have been better with this or that group of athletes competing - if we used that as an overriding qualifier, then only the Olympics would matter.
    No one expected world records in Delhi, but we had fun and the athletes had fun and that is what matters!

  • Comment number 51.

    Etiquette?? Do you expect a graveyard atmosphere like @Lords. Its India and people will make noise & they will support the home team and might not even attend if the home nation isnt a partipant because they dont follow this sport anyways.Utterly unfair to complain of empty stands and then of empty streets and then of noisy home support. Give us a break. We have no intent of being regimented and following anyones lead..this is how we watch sport.Last but not the least,while the people were critical of the OC till the games started but now feel the criticism is 'manufactured' and hence the noise for Indian its our only way of getting back at the one sided foreign reportage.

  • Comment number 52.

    A suggestion from my side - Let's keep all the future CWG limited to the home nations. They be host, they play and they bring the crowds. Hopefully, then BBC and such people will have no complains about the quality, security, crowds and level of play.
    Anyway these games were such drain on Indian economy. They could have easily spent this money to buy out any remaining British marquee company (sorry, didn't realise they have any left after BP was forced to pay through nose).

  • Comment number 53.

    Well done Delhi 2010, well done INDIA. I'm enjoying watching and thrilled by the happy look on athletes' faces as they realise they're in the medals. Its no place for the faint-hearted, and a BIG BOO for those who withdrew for no apparent reasons whatsoever ! Jonathan Edwards, you are a disgrace who forever moaning about this and that. I say, get out of Athletics and do something useful with your life. Well done too to the 'Home' athletes who brave the 'ordeals' and survive to compete and share their efforts and endeavours with the rest of us. We ought to be thankful for the efforts the Indian Government has put in hosting these events, its their first and are bound to be hitches here and there, but they will have learned from this !!

  • Comment number 54.

    Dear Mr. Fordyce,
    Whose fault is this to come underprepared to participate in a grand event like this its again CWG org. committee? ot others will accept their mistake why they didn't said this earlier, now they have lost so coming out with lots of excuses instead if you have won then i am sure instead of giving excuses you must have applauded your bench strength by thumping your chest.Just by showing few dirty toilets's of world class games village before games started no one can out class india's performance and their showcase to the world and yes now India arrived, you love it or hate it but you can't ignore it.

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 46: good link! Now multiply that beneficial effect many countries is it? There seem to be far too many people who don't understand what sport is fundamentally all about and think its just a question winning and trophies. And people who visit others' countries with a mindset that is closed and judgemental, instead of open and embracing. I know who get more out of the experience!

  • Comment number 56.

    Well from the bit's l watched l enjoyed it.. Yes, there were problems in all areas for whatever reason. But they made it. Delhi made it happen. No thanks to the media who don't seem capable of just writing about the facts. You actually add to the problems! Making them bigger than they really are with your sensationalist journalism. So typical that it has become the norm with the British media and press. I'm tired of hearing and reading stories that over time l discover have been jazzed up by the media to make them readable. Or hyping a story up only to bring it crashing down when it suits. In fact l find it refreshing to watch our news as portrayed by euro news. Just good old fashioned facts.....

  • Comment number 57.

    We're nearing the end of the Games and things have been smooth for the most part. Let's stop over-analysing. It's been a joyous ride for most and for those who were disappointed (for whatever reason), I suggest the following :

    :D :D

  • Comment number 58.

    I don't buy this "media negativity" claim by some posters here. The village was a mess. The NZ Chef de Mission said so, not the media. The media reported it. Had the problems not been reported worldwide, I doubt that they would have been fixed. A bridge collapsed. The media didn't do that did they? They also didn't make the scoreboard at the rugby ground fall down. Are they just supposed to ignore these incidents so they don't seem negative towards Delhi? Of course not. And now, there are highly respected former athletes who are saying the quality wasn't good enough. Should the media just bury that too, so as to not be too harsh? Of course not. The Delhi games have had good bits and bad bits. That is the essence of this blog and it is a fair assessment.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    benny- Please enlighten us with the fair assessment part.Well, the issues you mentioned happened before the start of the competition but the media seems to gleefully reporting any issues and make it sound like the whole games have failed.

    Just saw a gleeful Fennel reporting the failed dope test from an Indian athlete. Tough to make the games a success when the main stakeholders are trying to fail them.

  • Comment number 62.

    The great Tom Fordyce is back to his usual business, digging out negative stories about CWG 2010 Delhi.....

    When the games started, u had problem with empty seats, then u had problem with pool, which is declared by inquiry committee as clean and world standard, now under-performance of Athletics event....
    Give us a break Tom....cant u see how your home country is struggling with India to get the second place, It is really stupid thing for blaming under-performance of England team for facilities and absence of stars. A true sportsperson should display their talent anywhere, whatever the weather, facility....Those who have stomach upset must be munching Delhi's delicious 'chatpata' (spicy) food.....ask them to control.

    @Andrew Thomas, truthdare....thanks for the positive comments. Missing of stars is not the problem of Delhi, just remember who are complaining about every sports events new stars are born. (All must have seen India's performance in woman's discuss throw and Relay). Not necessarily stars show same performance in the next is a fact. I don't know why these critics are not accepting these things.....Those athletes who have withdrawn giving silly excuses should be banned for the Next Commonwealth Games 2014.

  • Comment number 63.

    This is not quite related but I want to know why reporters/officilas are quoting figures like 45 degrees when it comes to current Delhi weather.
    Gosh, do you have ANY IDEA what 45 degrees is like?? It's peak summer weather in north India (June-July) and the city turns into an OVEN!! People do not wish to step out of their houses.

    I agree it's hot and humid in Delhi but the MAXIMUM temperatures that BBC Weather has been reporting over the past one week (yes, I have checked everyday) has bordered around 32-24 degrees.

    BBC and other Reporters shouldn't be quoting such figures without verifying.

  • Comment number 64.

    Correction : I meant 32-34 degrees above and not 32-24

  • Comment number 65.

    Getting so fed up with how all these blog's are invaded by people whinging about the BBC and saying how no-one should criticise anything, and how rubbish we are in England, etc, etc. Few of the people complaining bother reading what others write, and shout down people who have the temerity to point out something valid. All the complaining about negativity while at the same time being guilty of what they are accusing others of, and not even seeing the hypocrisy of it all.

    Its a complete waste of energy even typing out a coherent argument to some of the people here because they are unable to see any other point of view. Its one thing to defend your country, and that is perfectly fair enough, but to do it blindly, ignoring facts, or trying to paper over them is not right. All the blog's descend into the same arguments over and over again which as a result with all this "noise", drowns out some of the exciting action that has been taking place.

  • Comment number 66.

    Tom, you must have been comotose when the BBC announced that the ENGLISH had filed a complaint against poor old Sally Pearson - which subsequently resulted in her disqualification! If you work for the English Broadcasting Corporation than you ought to familiarise yourself with pertinent events before commenting. I hope you are not wasting my taxes! On another note, the boxing coverage was incredibly prejudiced - especially when an English boxer failed to beat an Indian one. It almost sounded like the refereeing was conducted by Indian officials (or perhaps induced in some way by them?). I hope you will be around (perhaps not) when the Glasgow 'friendly' games arrive to make the points on how much better we are at everything compared to those Indians...

  • Comment number 67.

    For a start, the blog is about the athletics, not the CWG in total. There are lots of positives emphasised, such as the crowd on the last night, the good performances from certain athletes, Edwards' comment about Delhi, Cram's compliments of the crowds and Tom's enjoyment of personal success stories.
    Then there are the negatives, such as the sparse crowds at the beginning, the track problems, the poor officiating for those incidents and the lack of top athletes which is not even a criticism of Delhi.

    You only have to read the blog to see there are pros and cons highlighted. It hasn't been a brilliant athletics meeting in my opinion. As pointed out in the article the quality just wasn't there. There is no use pretending it has been. There is no point in the blog that that is blamed on Delhi. Did the top athletes stay at home because of:
    a) (deserved) negative press about the village?
    b) (possibly overblown) security concerns?
    c) because they don't value it as an event in their careers/schedule?

    They need to be asked. But I don't think it was all down to a) and people like Tom.

    And as for positive drugs tests, I can guarantee that a positive test in a British athlete would be much, much bigger news.

  • Comment number 68.

    Perhaps you should get your facts straight before trying to have yet another go at the English. Nigeria also protested (strange how you haven't complained about them) and their protest is likely to be the one which cost Sally Pearson her gold (even though she did commit a false start) as the England protest was for the English athlete who false started with the Australian.

    The fact that some of the refereeing at the boxing was "dodgy" isn't really news as it occurs time after time at the Olympics/Commonwealth's with home bias often kicking in. It doesn't make it right of course - you need "strong" officials who won't be swayed by the crowd, but will simply make the correct decisions as they see it. You would hope though, that with 5 judges around the ring, that they would pick up some of the clear point scoring punches that have been landed.

  • Comment number 69.

    Tom, you must have been comotose when the BBC announced that the ENGLISH had filed a complaint against poor old Sally Pearson - which subsequently resulted in her disqualification! If you work for the English Broadcasting Corporation than you ought to familiarise yourself with pertinent events before commenting.
    1. The English protested the false start for Turner, it was the NIGERIANS (ironically as it turns out) that protested about Pearson.

    2. Its the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation.

    I want to know why reporters/officilas are quoting figures like 45 degrees when it comes to current Delhi weather.
    I believe that was the track temperature.

    As for any notion of the CWG having it's final days, people seem to forget that it is not all about Athletics and Cycling. The majority of sports here have the very best athletes and competitors available, Athletes who only get near this level of competiton at an olympics and dont have dozens of meets to flll back on. Why should they suffer because of Athletics?

  • Comment number 70.

    There is a need for this level of athletics on the world stage. If Athletics becomes elitiest (which it always appears to be) then people won't be interested and you might as well give Bolt the next 2 Olympic and WC golds.

    People want to see a race. Whether the high jump is at 1.55 or 2.11 it is the competition that holds viewers interest. The value of the Commonwealth games is being the pinicle of the non mainstream events, a home for Netball, Badmington and the like. If Athletics things it's too good or too important then it should stick to its World Champs and save the organisers the costs.

  • Comment number 71.

    Oh. I had no idea.
    Why and how is it different? Just curious.

  • Comment number 72.

    If you ever watch the Formula 1 coverage, they will always talk about the air temperature, and the track temperature. Ditto for other sports. The track temperature will always tend to be several degrees higher than the air temperature, in the same way that the temperature in the shade is often given along with the temperature in the sun.

  • Comment number 73.

    From the Guardian, quote:

    "England protested after Pearson avoided disqualification for a false start on the second of three attempts to run the final. She and England's Laura Turner jumped the gun but referees awarded a red card only to Turner on the grounds that her reaction time was the quicker. Turner refused to leave the track, insisting the noise in the stadium was so loud that she had not been able to hear the starter's orders. After a long argument, the referees relented and allowed her to race under protest.

    Turner finished last, Pearson first. But England claimed that Pearson should also be disqualified as she appeared to move off the blocks before Turner."

  • Comment number 74.

    #73 again you don't mention the fact that the Nigerian's also protested, you're not doing yourself any favours. If you're going to copy and paste from a source, don't filter out pertinent information just because it doesn't fit the agenda you have.

  • Comment number 75.

    Can I just remind the writer of the article and those who condemn the Games that these are the COMMONWEALTH GAMES, they are not supposed to equal the Olympics, or in athletics the World Championships. Why oh why do people try to compare the times/distances with those of the Olympics?
    These Games present an excellent opportunity to bring all members of the Commonwealth, big and small, together in a friendly but competitive atmosphere. Sure there are people who are taking part who will never make it to the Olympics, but should that be held against them? Surely sport is just that - sport - and if a youngster from a small Commonwealth country loves sport & practices their sport diligently, and gets selected to represent their Country at the Commonwealth Games, then this maybe the pinnacle of their whole life, and makes their dedication to sport all the worthwhile. Is that not what sport is all about?
    4 years ago a young unknown athlete named Jessica Ennis was 3rd in the heptathlon at the much-maligned Commonwealth Games. Two years later she won a gold medal at the World Athletics Champions. I bet that bronze in Melbourne meant much to her at the time. It provided a stepping stone on her way to becoming No. 1 in the world in her event.
    Please accept the Commonwealth Games for what they are Mr Fordyce.

  • Comment number 76.

    Surreybloke123 AKA Tom, I can only quote what the paper prints. If you are saying that the Nigerians were to blame for her disqualification and England had nothing to do with it than OK - you are 'obviously' right!

  • Comment number 77.

    I think it would be unlikely for major sporting event to happen without anything going wrong, sadly from my experiences "debating" with Indians on the 606 cricket pages it is equally as unlikely that you will ever find an Indian who will admit that anything Indian is not perfect and the best ever. Sure there have been a few mistakes, but the games have done what they always do, let a few second raters get some medals and that is all very nice.

    1 little question, if the Olympic village has similar problems come 2012 as the CWG did, you can bet your bottom dollar the English media will have a field day and everyone in England will be thoroughly appalled and not try and shift the blame onto "scared" foreign athletes.

  • Comment number 78.

    Just to help you out as it seems you can only refer to one source...

    Please see below from the ABC Grandstand Sport website in Australia... this is an extract, if you want to read the whole article just do a web search.

    "Pearson originally survived what looked to be a false start to race and win a memorable final, but endured hours of uncertainty after the race following protests from England and Nigeria."

    Now I am not saying 100% that the English protest didn't at least contribute to the disqualification, but I don't think you should ignore the fact that the Nigerian's protested also. As a previous poster said, its rather ironic in view of what has since happened with the Nigerian athelete.

    PS My name isn't Tom. Its just not your day for getting things right is it.

  • Comment number 79.

    #78 the point I am trying to make is the the article states:
    "Come the following afternoon, all was in place. Unfortunately, further organisational mistakes would blight the rest of the week." and then refers to the Pearson fiasco. There were some mistakes that were made by the organisers but this cannot be classed as one of those. Your comments e.g. "Its just not your day for getting things right" don't impress anyone!

  • Comment number 80.

    Benny - At the end of the article, there are takeaways and those conclusions that are not fair. First of all, whether athletes pulling out affects the overall games is debatable. This is not even addressed.
    So I dont care why someone didnt make. At the end of the day, if they all pulled out due to it being October then who is to blame..Asfar as quality goes, its obvious that with some missing performers the highest times or other measures wont be met. Eg: Hooper did 5.6 despite him being here as it assured him a gold.Whats the guarantee that one or two stars in an event will produce a 'high' quality time,length, height. I must add Hooper was still pretty excited and happy were others who won despite a withdrawal from a higher ranked player. You are doing disservice to the ones who did come and compete and win here; incluing your home nations athletes.

    So, in my opinion this whole premise that due to missing stars the games reduced their successfulness(new word!) is really nit picking issues you think can bring the games 'down'

  • Comment number 81.


    The Pearson fiasco was completely the fault of the officials. The officials were sub-standard. They were also poorly managed (buses back at 2am, threats of strike etc). This was the fault of the organisers.

    It's still not your day for getting things right.

  • Comment number 82.

    Everyone knows Sally Pearson goofed it up in 100m, so kindly stop blaming CWG Delhi for that.

    A) why are we back at this
    B) No she didn't. The poor starter is not a fault either as the referee had gone missing as in another report too few people were expected to do everything at the athletics, no wonder why mistakes came in

  • Comment number 83.

    Well you accused me of being the writer of the blog - your patronising tone didn't impress me much either.

    The point I was trying to make is that you were trying to pin all the blame for Pearson being disqualified on the English, which is incorrect. There were problems with the organisation - the Australian's themselves point that out.

    Please see the below quotes from Mike Fennell, the Commonwealth Games Federation president.

    'Asked for his explanation of the situation, Fennell declared: "A number of things happen concurrently. The result are announced, then you're allowed a certain time to make a protest. Someone did not communicate that a protest was being made.

    "There was a problem over communicating that appeals had been launched. There was a major communication blunder by the athletics officials."

    Fennell was clearly unhappy with the Australian sprinter's treatment.

    "If there is a protest, then the athletes should be put on hold and told the reasons why. We received complaints about it. That treatment is unsatisfactory," he added.'

    This is another extract from the ABC website.

    "Just minutes earlier, Hollingsworth confirmed the English had lodged a protest over the disqualification of Turner, and said he had an unconfirmed report that Nigeria had lodged a protest over Pearson's win."

    Hollingsworth is Athletics Australia high performance manager. This was before the confirmation of the protest from the Nigerian's.

    I hope you now see that what you've written doesn't give a full and complete picture of exactly what happened.

  • Comment number 84.

    Im not too impressed with Fennel's words 'treatment' & 'blunder'. Its not like the officials were out to get at anyone..Its not even a miscommunication. Its a simple human error where a communication was not made; blown out of proportion.

  • Comment number 85.

    I am glad we still have people like Sebastian Coe who believe that games of this nature needs to get much more exposure and not be limited to developed countries.
    London Olympic chief Sebastian Coe:
    """I am not going to sit here and say that it (Delhi CWG) hasn't been without its challenges but again you take your lead from the athletes. They are the people that matter and they were reporting that the village was pretty damn good," Coe was told as saying by the Guardian."""
    """Coe said: "Let's get real here - if you want to build a global capacity in sport you are going to have to take sport out of its comfort zone. It's no good just mouthing that we want sport to have a legacy around the world. "It means taking major events to places that are going to be out of your back-yard.""
    Looking at the brighter side of the CWG is the fact that it has opened up a new world to the youth of this country, to look beyond Cricket.

  • Comment number 86.

    I don't suppose Sally Pearson felt it was blown out of proportion with being led to believe she was going to receive the gold medal before being told at the final moment that she wouldn't be. There were also problems with the womens 200m race whereby the Cypriot athlete's protest was bodged due to not enough officials with the correct experience being on hand, hence why the race was delayed by 24 hours.

    The officials may well not have been out to get anyone, but they were unable to handle the situations that occurred. Please don't try to pretend that virtuall nothing happened. I don't understand why you feel there wasn't a miscommunication when clearly people directly involved in the stadium do?

  • Comment number 87.

    Truthdare take your blinkers off, it's happened on several ocassions

  • Comment number 88.

    I would agree with you, major events do need to be spread around because of the long-term positive impact it can have on children in that country and region for their future development. The primary condition should be whether the country's infrastructure and organisation is appropriate for hosting whichever competition they are bidding for.

  • Comment number 89.

    Duncan - Everyone in India is and was appalled by the alleged pictures of the games village. Kalmadi and co will face the music once the DJ is packed off.

    What makes you think they will go scot free? Indian media is more critical of India than English media is of England...take off your blinkers.

    Ofcourse, there are many issues in Indian cricket...the main being the lack of a genuine pacer.Administration has had issues but is being fixed.

  • Comment number 90. should thank us..India has won against the Aussies to take the series we have softened them up for you to finish them off in the Ashes...your thanks are in order

  • Comment number 91.

    "...sadly from my experiences "debating" with Indians on the 606 cricket pages it is equally as unlikely that you will ever find an Indian who will admit that anything Indian is not perfect and the best ever."

    Ah, the 'No true Scotsman' fallacy. Thanks for making my day.

  • Comment number 92.

    You obviously haven't read enough British newspapers if you think the media here isn't very critical of what goes on in this country. I've never read any Indian newspapers so I can't comment what they're like. I fear you may not have fully removed your blinkers if you believe there were virtually no issues with the officials.

    India have done very well in the cricket. Whether the defeat will have any impact on Australia remains to be seen.

  • Comment number 93.


    "Benny - At the end of the article, there are takeaways and those conclusions that are not fair."

    Are we even reading the same article? The blog finishes with Tom talking about his favourite moments. Which "takeaways" are not fair?

    You have a point that top athletes don't necessarily make it any more exciting. But my kids' school sports day is exciting without top athletes. Doesn't make it a quality athletics meeting though does it?

  • Comment number 94.

    The games could have been memorable had something memorable happened. Ironically, memorable things usually happen when there is a buzz, an expectation, that they will happen. That expectation was absent in Delhi. The best athletes weren't there, the crowds weren't there, and the organization wasn't there. The games might now, belatedly, generate some hope in India for the next two years, but it is likely to be dashed on the rock of the global first division in London.

  • Comment number 95.

    I am glad we still have people like Sebastian Coe who believe that games of this nature needs to get much more exposure and not be limited to developed countries.
    London Olympic chief Sebastian Coe:
    """I am not going to sit here and say that it (Delhi CWG) hasn't been without its challenges but again you take your lead from the athletes. They are the people that matter and they were reporting that the village was pretty damn good," Coe was told as saying by the Guardian."""
    """Coe said: "Let's get real here - if you want to build a global capacity in sport you are going to have to take sport out of its comfort zone. It's no good just mouthing that we want sport to have a legacy around the world. "It means taking major events to places that are going to be out of your back-yard.""
    Looking at the brighter side of the CWG is the fact that it has opened up a new world to the youth of this country, to look beyond Cricket.

  • Comment number 96.

    #92 - Indian TV channels even more than the newspapers are extremely critical of India compared to anything Ive read or seen in the British media.

    #93 - I didnt literally mean the end of the article:). I mean you need to summarise an article into key takeaways.

    Top athletes missing out do take some gloss off some of the events, but the impression that the games are second rate is an not true. Further, at times even stars dont make an Hooper in Pole Vault was happy to win gold at 5.6m and not attempt 6m.So to me it sounds like unnecessary nit picking.

  • Comment number 97.

    Don't complain about lack of quality opposition at least it gives us a chance to win

    Mind you it didn't help England much last night!

  • Comment number 98.

    Good timing for Fennel to point out that October is not a good time to hold the games with two days to the closing ceremony. Though it will be held in July-August in Glasgow it will be bittrely cold for many. Tough to fix that.

  • Comment number 99.

    The Asian Games are being held in China in November, which is why the Commonwealth Games were forced to be held in October.

    As per Indian standards, October is the most pleasant month weather-wise, before the onset of winter. It's sunny but not sweltering by any stretch. I guess it all boils down to what conditions the player is used to.

  • Comment number 100.

    free_verse - Hmm..I always suspected it was the fault of the Chinese!
    But its convinient to say oh..we held it here in Oct so people couldnt make it..but they will in July-Aug four years hence..It does cast a doubt on the intent of CWF.


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