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Alternative Commonwealth medal ceremony

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Tom Fordyce | 17:16 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010

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 have been 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?

Most Memorable Moment

For those of us at the JN Stadium, nothing could beat the deafening noise of India's 4x400m relay team - Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Chidananda Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur - coming home to take a shock gold.

It was louder than Beijing's Bird's Nest ever was, louder too than even Berlin during Usain Bolt's comparatively greater achievements during last summer's World Championships.

For those across town at the hockey, where India came from 3-1 down with 20 minutes left on the clock to beat England in a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out, the athletics barely registered. Later that night debate raged about who had experienced the greater slice of sport. We're still arguing.

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India beat England in thrilling hockey semi-final (because of rights restrictions this is available to UK users only)

Friendly Games Award for Friendliness

Every attempt to get into a venue involved at least 20 minutes of pat-downs, bag searches, bleeping security arches and wailing metal detectors, often one after another in rapid succession and with frequent duplication.

What stopped this being onerous was the immense politeness and friendliness of every soldier, policeman and security guard you met.

Never before have I had 10 men holding machine-guns waving and smiling at me as I walked by; never before has my 5 live colleague Chessie Bent been saluted by a platoon of riflemen merely for presenting her media accreditation.

Inside the venues it was the same story from the red-and-white shirted volunteers - big smiles and a tangible, genuine sense of pride that the Commonwealths had come to Delhi.

Worst Use Of Non-Sporting Equipment

The 3,000 steeplechase can be an exhausting event. Just ask Papua New Guinea's Sapolai Yao, who decided to use a nearby pot-plant to help him get over a barrier late in the race.

Most watching on were charmed - the exception being the track officials, who disqualified him immediately. Harsh, although probably fair.

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Papua New Guinea's Yao gets help in steeplechase (because of rights restrictions this is available to UK users only)

Strictest Security Scenario

That the Games passed off without a single security alert was one of the organisers' great triumphs. Enormous credit is due. Within that bigger picture, however, were some rather draconian measures.

The spectators who had coins and house-keys taken from them were understandably miffed, as was the old man who had his slim paperback book confiscated on the basis that he might use it as a missile, while fans who had their water and sunscreen taken away were then unable to buy any more inside the stadiums.

The most unfortunate individual? The chap halted for attempting to bring three jam doughnuts into the athletes' village. First the security guard made him take a bite from one, to prove it actually was a sugary pastry rather than something less palatable in disguise. With jam still dribbling down chin, he then made him polish off the entire doughnut, just to be sure.

Finally, shaking his head, he pointed to the remaining doughnuts, waggled his finger and took them away, possibly to be destroyed in a controlled explosion. You can never be too careful.

Best Breakthrough Act

Before Monday evening, India hadn't won a Commonwealth track and field gold since the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh, stormed to the 400m title in Cardiff 52 years ago.

So when Krishna Poonia, Harvant Kaur and Seema Antil made it a home one-two-three in the women's discus, it did more than just lift the roof off the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Whether that clean sweep will change the perception of athletics in India we will have to see, but history, without doubt, had been made.

Biggest Homeland Hero

I liked everything about freestyle wrestling legend Sushil Kumar, from his brutal demolition of everyone in his path to the way he acted as a conduit for India's long and passionate love affair with the grapple game.

The atmosphere at his fights was spine-tingling, the Delhites' confidence in his abilities absolute. In return, Sushil left no-one in any doubt about his inspiration.

"Fear is something I don't think much about," he said after taking 66kg gold. "I have the blessing of the entire nation, and that gives me the strength to overcome anything."

Pantomime Performer of Fortnight

Please step forward Mr Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organising committee, booed at the opening ceremony yet never remotely cowed and producer of remarkable statements on a daily basis. A small selection:

After that opening ceremony: "Yes, Princess Diana was there," he said, before correcting himself. "Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Now they have gone off and they appreciated all the efforts made here."

On the small crowds: "We will give tickets to children and the lower in society."

An exchange with the BBC's Matthew Pinsent:

MP - I was at the shooting venue yesterday. This is a question for Mr Kalmadi: There were only 30 spectators. I wondered if you had a comment.

SK - I don't think there were 30 spectators. I was there myself and there were a few hundred. Please, I was there myself so I tell you there were a few hundred.

MP - I can give you the pictures, Sir. We can count them together if you like.

On the cycling road race, as live TV pictures showed the centre of Delhi to be completely empty: ""There were enough people there. There is no shortage of crowds anywhere."

Fans from around the world

Fans from around the world have attended the Games in Delhi

Most Colourful Character

There was also everything to like about Australian diver Matthew Mitcham.

Not only was he one of the few openly gay athletes at the Games, and entirely comfortable in his position as role model ("I want to do the best job I can because I believe it is important to have someone who is happy to be themselves") but he had a back-story to make nonsense of the stereotype of the one-dimensional professional sportsman.

Mitcham once paid off his debts by working as a clown, diving from a tower into a small tank to amuse children (memo to Tom Daley: be thankful for Lottery funding). He also once dressed up as a unicorn to go to a Lady Gaga concert in Sydney. Who said champions had to be boring?

Villain of the Games

Choose Nigeria's Damola Osayemi, stripped of her gold medal from the 100m after testing positive for methylhexaneamine, and TVNZ's anchor Paul Henry for repeatedly mispronouncing Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's name live on air. When the New Zealand prime minister has to get involved, you know it's gone too far.

Most Improved Performers

Prior to this, India's previous best medal haul at a Commonwealths was the 30 golds and 73 overall won in Manchester eight years ago. In their own capital they blew that away, finishing second in the medal table for the first time with 38 gold and 101 in total.

For a nation which only won its first individual Olympic gold two years ago, it was a stunning and seminal performance. The challenge when the celebrations here die down: can it continue that improvement at London 2012 and Glasgow 2014?

Best Facial Expression

If sporting success is all about passion and desire, nothing illustrated that quite as vividly as the look on Mark Lewis-Francis's chops as he made up a huge deficit on the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay final to secure England gold.

Eyes out on stalks, jaw jutting forward, there wasn't even a thought that Jamaica's five metre lead couldn't be overhauled. The celebrations as he dipped on the line to take gold told a similar tale.

Most Notable Numbers

Forget the finishing times for the men's 100m or scores for Tom Daley's final dive; the most impressive stats came at from the kitchens at the athletes' village.

Each day, 36,000 meals were cooked for athletes and volunteers. Among the items consumed each day: 800 pizzas, 12,000 eggs, 4292 assorted muffins, 1457 croissants, 3268 parathas, 363 kg bananas, 800 kg chips and 800 kg potato wedges. After all, exercise does make one hungry.

Easiest Headline To Write

Hats off to Aussie husband and wife Jared and Claire Tallent, who underlined the appropriateness of their names by taking gold in the men's 20km walk and silver in the women's. Sub-editors around the world gave silent praise.

Best Performance From Local Wildlife

Some would nominate the stray dog that appeared in the athletics stadium mid-session and, to loud applause, ran a quick 200m before disappearing down the officials' tunnel. Others preferred the cobra that was lying in wait for four South African swimmers in their room at the athletes' village.

For me it has to be the langur monkeys, brought in to get rid of the smaller monkeys with barely a thought given to the parable of the old woman who swallowed a fly. What if the langurs began to misbehave, we wondered - would they then release tigers, and then elephants.

Oh we of little faith. The langurs, rented from expert trainers and kept on tight leashes at all time, performed their bouncers' role superbly. Except for the one that scratched a BBC colleague on the hand as it tried to steel his BlackBerry. Five anti-rabies injections later, he's still smiling.

Least Visible Star

We heard so much about Shera, the Games' tiger mascot, before the Games. So where he/she/it went during competition? My first sighting was at the boxing on the penultimate night. My final one was during a short segment on Indian television. And that was it. Berlino, we shall never see your like again.

Most Embarrassing Blunder

At the start we had collapsing bridges, scoreboards falling down and India's bantamweight boxer Akhil Kumar narrowly escaping injury when the bed in his room at the Games Village collapsed under him.

A week in the official Commonwealth Games website had USA, Philippines, Korea, Japan and Great Britain all listed as participants.

At the end, New Zealand's Stuart Farquhar threw 77m in the javelin final, only to find officials initially recording it as 72m. We all make mistakes, but many of Delhi's were entirely avoidable.

Most Unlikely Urban Myth

With so many tales doing the rounds, it was inevitable that some would become inflated or completely fabricated.

The most eyebrow-raising: the 10 metre diving board actually being 10.7m high; the African athlete spotted drinking from the swimming pool; and my personal favourite, English athletics coach George Gandy being stopped in the street and hailed as a descendant of the great Mahatma. Truly remarkable.

Most Important Turnaround

For the first few days, the crowds at the various venues were so poor they could barely be described as spartan.

Fewer than 30 people watched Indian hero Abhinav Bindra win the country's first gold of the Games, while only around a tenth of seats at the national hockey stadium were taken for the Indian women's team's first match. The cycling road races around central Delhi were almost entirely bereft of spectators.

Over the final few days, however, the situation was turned on its head. Weightlifting was watched by partisan thousands, the hockey semi-final between England and India thousands more.

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A look back at the best and worst moments of the 2010 Delhi Games [UK users only]

Even better, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium went from having acres of empty blue seats to near its 60,000 capacity for the final two nights of athletics. It brought Delhi's Commonwealths to a crescendo that those present on those nights will struggle to forget.


  • Comment number 1.

    Good games in the end, just goes to show that the games are made succesful or destroyed by athletes and fans, not the media or the organizers.
    Lots of learning for the organizers as well as for the western media.
    Hope all of us are better for the experience.

  • Comment number 2.

    Thank God!!!! you cant morn any more.

  • Comment number 3.

    HI Tom, nice synopsis. And I'll be sure to refer back to this when writing up our final report. We're still here in Delhi, attempting to create the first ever upcycling Commonwealth Games.

    It's going to be interesting seeing how the Organising Committee handles the reverse logistics and disposal of waste materials from this event. We're hoping to create high value products out of some of these materials to benefit some of Delhi's poorest slum-dwelling communities. (Don't know what to do with the Aerostat?... We'll take it!)

    We're in the midst of madly trying to speak to a whole lot of OC members and their contracting companies - tis a wild ride of meetings, phone calls and Hindi hold music. But we're hoping for a surprise win on the scale of those amazing Indian Women's relay runners. And yes the crowd at JN stadium was deafening for the 4x400m race. My ears are still ringing...

  • Comment number 4.

    It went off well, the security was excellent... so was the events.... what spoiled the event was the OC... now its time for Kalmadi to face the music ..... while we sit back and enjoy the fireworks, in the parliment.... hope Kalmadi knows how to Dance... I heard that PM is in no mood to listen to his all is well song.... lets enjoy the aftermath....

  • Comment number 5.

    Nice Article Tom!! Being an Indian, I can tell you that at the grassroots, lots of people come out to see the "Olympic sports", and we are alwez fired up wen its t country competing in any competition!! you are right, the buzz you get in Indian crowds that love being vocal is tremendous!! their is mutual pride in outdoing the other is shouting and backing the countrymen!! :).. the 4x400 team has been showing promise of late, and I hope they can bag a medal in London 2012.
    We have also started having World Champions and Top ranked athletes in Shooting, Wrestling, Boxing and Badminton.!!
    The star for me was Saina Nehwal, The Cute girl who clinched the deciding Gold to push us to 2nd place! She is the World no.3,Confident yet very grounded and she personifies the Modern Indian Woman in every sense!

    P.S: we won 101 medals, not 98!!

  • Comment number 6.

    I am stunned you would even print the 'most likely urban myth' section. I am also stunned at the complete turn around that has been reported by the English media. These games were nearly called off because of 'dirt' 'unpreparedness' and disorganisation. In truth the media scandal before these games smacked highly of racism and biggotry, and I can see many of the old 'Empire' eyes still looking down on their Indian servants, in the recounting of urban myths in this piece.

  • Comment number 7.

    And of course you're not being remotely biggoted in the language you use either...?

    It's a positive blog, and it really doesn't need yet more of the circular arguments that have dragged down the other blog's.

  • Comment number 8.

    There was a lot of adverse publicity for the CWG in the print and visual media, before the start of the games. Indian media seemed to relish all the adverse incidents like the bridge collapse and the ceiling coming down and so on, the western media did not lag behind. The internet sites were inundated with jokes of various kinds, targeting the poor organizational effort, complacency and corruption. Kalmadi jokes were doing the rounds.The ordinary Indians were worrying whether we can mange to get the games going at the right time.

    Finally , we have done it. Your comments shows the general feel of everyone who has been in Delhi, watching the games live or others who were watching on TV. The inaugural function, the way the events were conducted without any hitch, and the closing ceremony were largely applauded. To top it all, Team India did us all proud. India has proved "we can".

  • Comment number 9.

    Just a word of correction , India got 101 medals in total and not 98.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Now do a story on the English swimming belly (not Delhi belly!! The pool was blamed initially, but then tests proved otherwise How come just a group of largely english women swimmers-- !

  • Comment number 12.

    I am glad you stopped....
    lets do summary.. It was an excellent, welcoming, secure and rewarded to the ones deserved it. Thanks to game organisers and authorities.

    Now the world have a memorable experience...

    Thanks to INDIA... and look forward to organise such an event once more.

  • Comment number 13.

    India's chance to stake a claim for the next Olympics in Asia has been completely blown by the ridiculous levels of bureaucracy, security and general lack of common sense:

    - using the metro and visiting 3 sessions in one day meant upwards of 10 security checks whilst standing in long queues in the heat;
    - a metro resembling a rugby scrum at many stations;
    - the somewhat bizarre logistics led to long walks in direct +35C sunshine to enter certain gates at stadia. Especially the 4km walkaround to gates 6-9 at JLN stadium even though you are right next to the stadium as you exit the station;
    - tickets for numerous events suddenly 'sold out' even though some stadia were less than half full;
    - no food inside the cycling/wrestling/gym venues for the first 2 days;
    - no drinks allowed in the stands, many of which had little or no roofs to hide us from the blazing sun (Oh, yes, no sunscreen allowed inside as noted!)
    - the banning of all sorts of everyday items by security. I offered to give them my shoes at one entrance in case I decided to throw them but was told "Oh no Sir. You wouldn't possibly do that!"
    - athletes known by a friend found cleaners using their toothbrushes in their Games Village bathroom;

    Unfortunately it was "a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham." and ruined the event for me.

  • Comment number 14.

    are athletes allowed to cook in their apartments or bring in street & tinned food- Or were they locked into the food in the village and the venue-

  • Comment number 15.

    Well pretty good article.. And its not 98 , you cant mislead people with wrong information .. its 101 , am sure you did your maths in school well you dont have to do maths to know the difference between 98 and 101.

  • Comment number 16.

    Unfortunately i missed the incident with the monkeys.Did the langurs gently coax the smaller monkeys away or did they rip their limbs off in front of a horrified crowd?. I did get a bit of a laugh with the wild dog walking inbetween the shooters and their targets without a care in the world.

  • Comment number 17.

    Correction for Tom for putting that 98, i wonder how will he calculate the number of people with Mr. Kalmadi, if he's so bad with calculations.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Guys ,

    I hope this even is pretty successful eventhough there was a lot of criticism about the standards and so...but i think the media has made it highlighted to a greater extent rather keeping it simple,and tell you what no body is perfect in this whole world,a developing country like India has organised this event with no security failure or no major complaint's.I think every Indian will be proud now and India will deserve to organise the OLYMPICS as they had learnt a lot of new things in CWG and they implement better high and rich standards in forthcoming international sport event...and ITS TRUE that no one can stop it.....Jai HO

  • Comment number 19.

    I am glad for two things; 1. There was no security incident. 2. In ripping apart a good thing even before it comes about, Indian media is just as good as the English, perhaps even better.

  • Comment number 20.

    Good games in the end? Doesn't quite make up for the lead up,the beginning, the middle and the bit in between!! Bollywood farce at times!

  • Comment number 21.

    Shera was highligting the plight of the Tigers. Hence most people could only catch a glimpse. You will probably not see him anymore. The same could happen to the tigers.

    Enjoyed the drama of the gold medal chase on the last day for the second place. Well Done Saina Nehwal for holding her nerve after losing the first sate and 19-19 in the 2nd.

  • Comment number 22.

    If I was Indian, I'd be horrified at the comments stating that any criticism of their games is racist. How patronising is that? Are we saying that only the western countries should be made to answer for poor planning? Is the lack of a Gantt chart or other Project Management tools ok because they're Indian? Are we saying that if all or any of the issues in the lead up to these games happened in 4 years time in Glasgow, the Daily Mail wouldn't crucify the organisers?
    People seem to forget that the fiercest critics leading up to the games were the Indian media and people themselves. I was in Kerela in late Sept and the local and national media were having a field day. Headlines varied from the national embarrassment of it all to the argument that India isn't a sporting country so they shouldn’t have tried to host it in the first place. Either way, the Champions League 20/20 competition came a very distant second in media coverage.
    On the plus side, I couldn’t be happier it finished so well. Not for the CWG organising committee, but for all my colleagues who felt the strange need to apologise to me for the negative impression I was receiving of India from their press. Amazing country, amazing people, poor project managers.

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    reply to Toffer 79

    The Heat
    Hmm you now know why Indians are switching to 20-20 , and saying good bye to test cricket
    You should have stayed at home


    Consider yourself lucky they did not ask you to eat your shoes (like it happened to the guy with the doughnuts)

    Try cribbing about security at London airport! You can probably get away with it at delhi airport though considering you moan all the time

    people at Metro looked like rugby scrum
    Too bad Man! You were in a poor country Why didnt you offer a class in grooming! You could have made some money for your next vacation

    The toothbrush
    Maybe the cleaner was waiting for your friend to come into the bathroom and take a picture of him with the toothbrush - say "CHEESE"

    No OLYMpICS please! Imagine the number of moaners going to be around

  • Comment number 25.

    Sigh.....poor Tom is at his diplomatic best, writing a blog that is funny, summarises the games well, heaps praise where it is due, and is very positive towards Delhi in its tone, yet it only took until comment 6 for someone to come out and claim media conspiracy and "racism and biggotry [sic]".

    Tom, do you ever just hold your head in your hands and want to pack it all in?

    The games had problems. They were significant. They warranted media coverage. The media coverage undoubtably helped spur on the fixing of problems. Delhi turned it around at the end, so the media are turning their around at the end. It's not really a difficult concept to grasp. And there really isn't anything as deep as racism or bigotry in it. Please just let it go. And stop blaming Tom for all of the world's media!

  • Comment number 26.


  • Comment number 27.

    I wish I could watch the vid :(
    Loved the article!

  • Comment number 28.

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

  • Comment number 29.

    Hey Tom.
    Facts written nicely. Appreciate the work you've done.

  • Comment number 30.

    it was the report by indian media and soutik biswas that worried me. i thought the atheletes from many countries will not come to Delhi esp due to security problems.

    but things went well after PM Manmohan Singh called for an urgent meeting and let the Indian army to solve the problem. as usual they did a splendid job.

    yeap, the highlight was the 4 x 400m indian relay team who won the gold medal.

    these girls and other indian girls who won medals can be used in promos by the HEALTH DEPT, INDIA to educate parents to value female babies a much as male babies.

    thank you india for the splendid games. you shud bid for the ASIAN GAMES AS WELL AS THE OLYMPICS IN THE FUTURE.

  • Comment number 31.

    Did the langur scrathed the BBC reporter for thinking of him as a monkey or though his act as monkey business?

  • Comment number 32.

    Thanks very much for an upbeat most 10 memorable moments write up.
    Nice one again Tom.

  • Comment number 33.

    The indian celebrations - may the 2012 be as loud and enthusiastic.

    Some of the medal ceremonies were classic:

    Hannah Miley & the women's relay team - emotional

    But please send Jerusalem back to the WI & Rugby world.

  • Comment number 34.

    The truth is that the Commowealth Games in Delhi were in large very poor in so many aspects, apart from the level of competition since so many top names were missing, but the overall picture picked up and gained a gloss towards the end and, as usual, last impressions last more.

    Further, what did you expect, for anyone to come out and blame India for a poor Games? There are diplomatic relationships at stake that extend far beyond sport to compromise! After all, there has to be a nice ending to everything and no hard feelings whatsoever.

    The build-up to the Games was chaotic to say the least and there were huge problems during the course of the Games as well - and yes, there were health problems and not only of some English swimmers, officials looked to have no clue as to what to do on so many occasions and so on. But organisers learnt to deal better with situations on the way as it has happened with other big events in the past.

    That said, I'm glad that India pulled it off and salvaged the day in the end but there should be a serious overhaul over their structures and procedures before they go on to bid for another big event. And I'm not talking about the Indians on the ground, who put their best foot forward throughout the Games, but their state.

  • Comment number 35.

    Really surprised to see the most reputable organisation like BBC reporting the story in the main news about 10m diving board being 70cm higher than it supposed to be.Can't imagine BBC reporting unconfirmed flying stories/heresay.I am complaining to BBC lets see if they reply

    Shame on BBC.

  • Comment number 36.

    I can assure you security and enforcement people are always oddballs. England only need to recall those virginity tests of a few years ago.

    Last year, at Heathrow, a nephew of mine was forced to eat burfee out of a carton he took along. He was glad to do it right there, but so were the security people who insisted on the infallible test for explosives.

  • Comment number 37.

    Finally a balanced piece from Tom Fordyce.

    What I dont understand is the number of people still moaning about the preperation and the start of the games and how Delhi wasent ready at first..
    What difference does that make??

    When the athletes got to the village, it was in perfect condition and was of World Class. All the venues were world class...The security couldnt have been any better if any country in the World tried it.. And there was some great sport for the duration for the games..
    And werent these all the concerns that were expressed by the West?

    Who cares anymore on what happened on the lead up to the games. Its JUST the lead up. Nothing was happening then,just news stories for the media to fill up column space....
    For a developing country who had never hosted an event of this stature and magnitude before,India did a great job..

    Now people can quit moaning and complaining about what happened to the lead up as it dosent matter one bit.It dosent tarnish the pure spectacle that was evident for most of the time in any way at all...
    India will learn to plan better but it put on one hell of a show with the outmoust passion,exuberance and absolute exhilaration and thats what it should be judged upon..

  • Comment number 38.

    Right gang - Delhi done for me - thanks for reading the blogs, and for some of the comments at least... Fourth trip to India, always fun. Wish we had tuk-tuks in London...

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Tom , We finally ended the much criticised Delhi CWG. We are not a developed ,rich country like yours. We are only working towards it. We were under British Rule for over 100 years and paid taxes to your country. We have more than our share of problems like poverty , illiteracy ,corruption, ineptitude etc. In our defence,I would like to say to you and yr country men - Whatever our shortcomings we aimed to please our guests. We did our best to be warm and welcoming and tried to provide facilities to make all participants and visitors comfortable. Perhaps our best is not good enough for many of you who are used to the perfection and perks of your rich country. But as a patriotic Indian,I appeal to your famous British sense of fairness- This was our first major games post independence. Please bear with our mistakes and do try to appreciate our efforts even though the results may not match up to your standards.I am sure you will put up a perfect Olymp2012 and CWG2014. But We did try our best . I hope there was something about Delhi that appealed to you and you can carry home some fond memories of my much maligned hometown.We enjoyed having you all there. Many Thanks.

  • Comment number 40.

    How do you pronounce Sheila Dikshit? Looks pretty obvious to me......

    It is pronounced 'Dix it'

  • Comment number 41.

    @ #39 - Fair point, but you could also point to the praise given to the preparation in South Africa for the World Cup, a country with similar circumstances to you. They didn't do too bad a job on an arguably bigger sporting event, did they?

    Having said that, well done to the Indians for ultimately proving that all those reports about the poor accommodation/collapsing bridges were unfounded and for producing a great CWG.

  • Comment number 42.

    India's 98 medals amended to 101, apologies.
    Thanks to all those who pointed it out.

  • Comment number 43.

    @40 It is pronounced as DH-eek-shith. It means 'very knowledgeable and religiously initiated'. The NZ reporter was awfully crass. Please dont endorse / condone trashing something as important as someone's name. It only smacks of lack of knowledge on the part of the reporter. He was crude and crass laughing at something he knows nothing about. The most ludicrous thing about the show was his ignorance and not his mockery of Delhi CM s name.

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • Comment number 45.

    i saw yesterdays commonwealth games presentation by sue barker and another rookie presenter who reminded me of crying over spilt milk when he spoke of india not scoring in the hockey final. Was he really moaning at england being pipped by india for the 2nd spot or that england lost to india in semi-final of hockey ?

  • Comment number 46.

    Well done Tom. I knew the Beeb was capable of improving on that appalling "10 most memorable moments".

    @ 43: thanks for clearing that one up. I too was curious, and agree with you that it is a matter of courtesy to get someone's name right.

  • Comment number 47.

    So you don't care about the bridge collapsing and the injuries/death as a result? You can't say that that was a case of nothing happening?

    Shame on you and your friends for forgetting so quickly about the poor people involved in that. You're all so keen on saying that everything is perfect, but you forget about your compatriots.

    As with most Games, there was good, and there was bad.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi Tom,
    Indian Media is so advanced and developed and will cover each and every inch of the standards and developments for OLYMPICS 2012 make sure you guys wont give a single chance to rise a finger and point out towards your men and your country ...Mera Bharat Mahaan

  • Comment number 49.

    Firstly, whoever is complaining about security should think again!! I mean what did you expect!! It's India!! Hello!!! Terrorist attacks happen every now and then in India and when you have an event this big, it's a huge liability to protect all those attending the games!! Hell you have to go through so many security check points and strip searches when you are just transferring from one flight to another without actually leaving the terminal in London Heathrow Airport. Talk about harassment then...

    Secondly, yes there is a lot of corruption in Indian politics and most of the Indian politicians care about is how to fill there own pockets without really giving a damn about there people and image of India. This games could have been a lot more smoother and controversy free if the organizers have actually taken it seriously from the beginning and not after all the screw-ups before the games! A serious action should be taken against all those involved in this corruption that led to this mess.

    Thirdly, even after all the mumbo jumbo, the games itself went pretty alright and the opening and closing ceremonies where quite spectacular! I am sure athletes who pulled out of CWG 2010 because of all the negativity put out by media around the world before the games are regretting there decision.

  • Comment number 50.

    There is nothing to feel shy or shame in this my friend,we people has not tried to cover the mistakes but we have learned from the mistakes that were made in the past and followed strict measures so that the things never repeat again.
    And by the way the Govt of India has already helped the injured families and has started investigation about the root causes and will take a necessary action on the people who are responsible in it ...
    So the story has just begun and still a lot to go..Just wait and see but dont get into a conclusion that this matter is ended...
    Thank you

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi Tom,
    stop being such a sore loser. England got beat by India. and that is the only thing that counts!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    The games were truly exceptional. Check out my latest blog about CWG-2010:

  • Comment number 53.

  • Comment number 54.

    Tom how can you say your most memorable moment was England getting beat in the hockey against India, that's something which every Englishman should forget. Collie21 your 08.02 comment sounds like you have one big chip on your shoulder, get over it we are in the 21st century now!

  • Comment number 55.

    Shamli "remember Turin" what are you on about?

  • Comment number 56.

    "A week in the official Commonwealth Games website had USA, Philippines, Korea, Japan and Great Britain all listed as participants."

    Tom I think this should answer your statement:

    ""The Commonwealth Games (CWG) website, which got more than seven million visitors everyday, buckled not because of technical glitches but a deliberate mischief, sources said. Few weeks ago, the Commonwealth Games website came under cyber attack which was possibly routed from China. Sources tell CNN-IBN that within two hours of the Games opening ceremony, the website faced massive cyber attacks, possibly from China. India's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERTIN) had to set up a special cyber control room at the games village. But the cyber attacks continued till the end of Games."""

  • Comment number 57.

    Congaratulations to all involved in the games for making it a big success. Congratualtions to BBC for becoming public enemy no#1 for more than 1.2+ billion people in the world.what a waste of my licence fee?

    Better call you Biased Broadcasting Committe

    Let India sort it's own mess.

    I agree about lessons should be learnt from the games like sort out corruption, mediocrity etc but main lesson what India people learnt is don't give a damn to foreign media(especially Imperial BBC)

  • Comment number 58.

    Please look into this petition about BBC anti India reporting.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    Least Visible Star:

    How about: Jess Innes and Philipps Idouo for starters. You can then follow that with virtually the entire British (SKY Related) cycle team. Let's hope that in 2014 the the cycling schedule fits in with Sir Chris Hoy's schedule and he (and the rest of the SKY team)can rock-up to the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome and get an opportunity to represent Scotland in Scotland.

    As well as the host athletes who did a tremendous amount for regaining pride and self confidence for India you must count virtually the entire English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Swimming Teams who proudly represented their countries and made time in their busy schedule to represent their countries. They gave no excuses and just got on with it.

    But finally, hats off to the mighty Tom Daly who not only has to work around A levels but also worked around the European and Student Championships, Let's hope a few of our very tired super stars can take a leaf out of this 16 Year Old. I certainly know where my vote for the 2010 BBC Sports Personality will be going.

  • Comment number 61.

    Even before the games I felt that the media around the world was guilty of gross exaggeration. Whilst the organisation was shambolic, I always felt that criticisms of infrastructure and security were unjustified.

    I was in India in March and I experienced the Delhi Metro which was far more comfortable than the London Underground. Security measures can be draconian (I had to argue profusely with security just to allow me to take my asthma inhaler into the ground at an IPL game) but in a country which is at very high risk from terrorist attacks I would rather they overdid things than neglect security.

    As for the variation in crowds, I think people forgot that Indian people don't have that much interest in track and field but when an Indian was involved in a final the support was always there (exception is the shooting!). Ticket prices were a joke (as they always seem to be for any major sporting event). By charging 250 rupees for entry the majority of average Inidans was priced out of buying tickets. That is equivalent to a day's wage for a lot of Indians.

  • Comment number 62.

    "that's a lot of precious metal"

    Not a sniff on the precious metal that english plundered from it's commonwealth colonisation activities. Does anybody know why all these countries are celebrating being invaded and pillaged by the english ? Or are these games a sneaky way of winning medals in the absence of the Americans and traditional historical communists ?

  • Comment number 63.

    This is a very positive blog which reflects the impression many of us had of these games. So well done again to the people of Delhi and the Indian athletes who, I have to admit, surprised me with the number of golds they achieved. Hope they continue to improve in 2012.

    Disappointed to see the usual rants about 'biased'/'jealous' journalism. I'm sure if bridges collapse, facilities are completed late and safety certificates are forged in 2012 then the Indian (and British) media will report that too.

    Remember that the final impression is what sticks in the mind, and although I hope the organisers learn from the early problems, those who keep bringing up the reporting of these issues just remind everyone of them again.

  • Comment number 64.

    this was an excellent summery and a very apt one at that! there is NO DOUBT that India could have done better during the organization of the games! They had four long years but they squandered both money and time due to the cavalier attitude of the organising committee headed by moronic Kalamadi and his arrogance can not be condoned.India MUST learn how to excel in organising such events by learning form the preparations by England to host the 2012 London Olympics. it is not too much to ask! Thanks to Indian Army who made it possible to get everything ready so that the opening ceremony got off to a flying start to the CWG

  • Comment number 65.

    62. At 8:25pm on 15 Oct 2010, Footnotes wrote:

    "that's a lot of precious metal"

    Not a sniff on the precious metal that english plundered from it's commonwealth colonisation activities. Does anybody know why all these countries are celebrating being invaded and pillaged by the english ?
    Sounds like you've encountered something you don't understand. I'd say the probable answer is that they know their business better than you do.

  • Comment number 66.

    AN INSIGHT INTO MELBOURNE COMMONWEALTH GAMES PUBLISHED IN THE AGE ON 11.03.2006(wonder what the international media thinks about this incident)

    Village on the nose for Fijian team
    by Peter Ker
    March 11, 2006

    A SERIES of sewage leaks at the beleaguered Commonwealth Games athletes village left at least "half a building" uninhabitable for three days.

    Despite being proclaimed by organisers as the best village seen at a Commonwealth Games, the Fijian team woke on Wednesday morning to find three of their rooms flooded with sewage.

    Fijian chef de mission Patrick Bower confirmed yesterday that members of his team had made the foul discovery. "It was in the early hours of Wednesday morning when the system backed up and flooded out half of the building," he said.

    "I think there was a break in the sewerage pipe."

    Mr Bower said village staff moved in quickly to clean up the mess and disinfect the flooring.

    Melbourne 2006 chief executive John Harnden confirmed the leak in the Fijian accommodation, and said three other incidents had also been reported. "There have been four plumbing problems at the village which as we know is housing tenants for the first time," he said.

    A check of plumbing across the village was carried out after the incident, Mr Bower said.

  • Comment number 67.

    @65 : My post clearly indicates that I do not understand. Reiterating that helps me as much as Kevin Pietersen is going to help england to win the ashes. Not very much. But you english know your business better than I do. Knowing one's business is not a good reason to accept, and indeed celebrate, abuse.

  • Comment number 68.

    Given a couple of months to digest the results of their efforts of the past few weeks the Delhi organisers should be just about ready to stage a Commonwealth Games to remember...

  • Comment number 69.

    Just understand blogging is a business, no one mind if they blog good things, running after the Indian toilets may attract most readers during some moments like this, this blogger may also become famous because of an Indian toilet. Hence please careful, learn it from China in these kind of matter.

  • Comment number 70.

    @ Sleight_of_hand

    Heat - yes India is hot which is why the complete lack of shelter, banning of sunscreen and restriction on drinks in stadia was an issue.

    Security - far, far more ridiculous than any airport I have ever been to (although they were very cordial)

    Eat my shoes, metro, toothbrush - eh? Can you offer anything constructive here (inbetween visits to the tuck shop)?

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    To me, the media reaction to the games has demonstrated the inner conflicts faced by many of the new generation Indians. The kind of reporting wasn't unexpected at all and I think it has been reasonable given the fact that to many of them, it is a first look at the reality of the Indian situation.

    For any reasonably educated, intelligent, young (new generation) Indian, the problems with India are blindingly obvious - mass illiteracy, poverty, votes being bought from these masses, gender inequalities and universal corruption that is accepted as a matter of fact.

    As someone memorably quoted "if you are not an idealist at 25, you don't have a heart; if you are an idealist at 45, you don't have a brain". Most Indian kids do question these things as they grow up, as they first see the difference between their parents and some one vastly less privileged as well as some one vastly more privileged. For some, it is more difficult to shake off this inequality as they age, while others learn to turn a blind eye.

    In any case, not many days ever pass without one being reminded of those questions, via a scene on the road or a story in the news. It is a conflict we live with. We can never completely enjoy the growth story as some of our own struggle on the streets, nor can we drag ourselves all the time to care about the poor and the beggars on the street. We simply have no other practical choice but to just get on with it and live our lives.

    The kind of extreme emotions that can be generated - wealth and the story of growth on one hand and the mass poverty and suffering of so many on the other hand - make it very difficult to completely isolate one from the other.

    Hence, even as the foreign media or the BBC speaks of the Games, them being new to the reality in India, are compelled to speak of the other things like the people that have been displaced, the poverty and slums a couple of miles away etc. I have read most of the blogs by the BBC reporters here and I detect that most of their blogs carried both positive and negative stories related to the games. It is not their fault, it is just that the range of emotions one experiences can be utterly overwhelming before one gets used to them. You can never completely forget one or the other because both keep continually staring you in the face - modern India with its (unfortunately) loud and brash and go-get-it mentality and ancient India, with its lumbering bureaucratic machinery, often at the same place.

    Fortunately, most of the young Indians seem to learn to make a choice (even if perhaps unknowingly) to be the best they can be instead of being swayed by the contrasting realities of India. They realise implicitly that improving themselves as professionals and people is probably their best and only sustainable contribution to the good of society.

    The games have given West a look into how Indian society works at the moment. Judging by the way the media has been able to light a fire on the backsides of the Games OC, it is no bad thing to have happened. India might have wanted flawless games, but they got what they needed - a reality check that talk of a superpower is a joke and China is at least 20 to 30 years ahead if not more - anybody who says otherwise is clearly deluded.

  • Comment number 73.

    Now that the Commonwealth Games have drawn to an end, I think the BBC and media can now rest for a while. After all they had to work hard to come up with the negative or yellow journalism, blowing some minor issues out of proportion (for example the collapsed ceiling at the boxing venue, which turned out to be two false ceiling tiles & plaster falling off the roof at the aquatics complex, which turned out to be a bee!).
    Firstly, the question of the costs and the 'moral question' which Tom himself raised. Should India be spending this type of money, when a third of it's population lives on less than a dollar (or is it two dollars) a day? That's an odd question. Billions have been spent on venues and infrastructure, however it should be noted that this moral question is never raised when British companies are to profit out of the same country where one third of population do live on less than a dollar a day. Exempli gratia, Mott MacDonald was the consultant in construction of T3 terminal in Delhi which cost $2 billion; or BAE which signed a deal for 106 Hawk 132 trainer jets at £18 million per unit or lobbying Eurotyphoon for MRCA deal which is worth $10.2 billion. Why are lips tightly sealed in these situations? Poverty & moral questions seems to crop up only when India launches moon mission, hosts CWG or tests missiles for it's own defence.
    Yes, there are problems in India but they are India's problems and they need to deal with it, whether it's economic or social. Other than providing a poverty porn feast for the westerners, this type of negative journalism does not help matters. I distinctly remember the so called 'Indian winter' series on Channel 4, where programmes never moved beyond the slums of Mumbai. This is one of the main differences between Bollywood and western films. While Bollywood films show mainly the prime places and monuments in their films, others seem to have tunneled view & suffer from psychosomatic constipation unless an impoverished India & eastern countries are not shown in the media & films.
    Plenty of things were blown out of proportions in the Delhi games. Gastroenteritis from pool water (which was later disproved & of course the fact that the Aussie swimmers had contracted it in Malaysia was never mentioned), athletes made to play in high heat and humidity (but it didn't seem to bother English athletes practicing in higher temperatures in Doha prior to the games), attendance at the games (it would be interesting to see how many turn up for a game of netball between Samoa & Papua New Guinea in 2014 games) and the security checks (it is not acceptable to carry 100 ml in flights for security reasons either; and one does not need to be reminded of 26/11 Mumbai. I wonder how the media would have then reacted had a crude liquid bomb gone off in the venue) or a leaking AC (I think one can expect a faulty appliance when thousands have been purchased).
    Yes, there have been problems during the games and there are bound to be during an event of this scale. Yes, there are problems regarding poverty, corruption, & other socio-economic issues in India. But at the end of the day, this is for India and Indians to sought it out, they have elected governments and officials for this & it is upto them to question the people in power, rather than jumping onto a bandwagon of blind patriotism. Criticism from the media needs to constructive, whether it's Indian and western media, rather than obstructive and destructive. Would the same moral questions be asked by BBC during the hosting of Olympics in 2012 or CWG in 2014, given the a massive UK external debt of $ 9 trillion, or that the old pensioners in UK have just enough money to heat or eat?
    Lastly, the importance of Commonwealth Games. Other than it being important for the athletes and improving infrastructure, I don't any other significance of these games. It is just a grim reminder of past imperialism. But it looks like those who pulled out in the name of accommodation & security will now have to eat the humble pie!

  • Comment number 74.

    What is wrong with British media, they are all hell against CWG Games in Delhi. It has propagated wrong information everywhere, by showing months old pictures from the Games village, when it was just being prepared for the Games, which made it as a sensational issue. I was reading another post here and it calls gap in class at Delhi Games. Really? Are you saying that your 38 athletes who won gold were not genuine. It is like kiddish when kids fight in the end on trivial issues once the game is over. I agree that there was an unfortunate bad start to the Games, but not that sensational it is being presented here. We know the Govt. sucks in India, but all those adversities have been overcome by the wink of an eye by enterprising India and its people. If it wasn't the case of unfortunate bad start; everybody's mouth would have been shut forever. India really rocked the world with a great show, and try to appreciate that. Probably it is all due to jealousy and insecurity which makes them unable to digest India's success in any respect. But hey get out of your cocoon, India is rising and it will come back where it was 200 years back, when it was plundered to get into this present state. India has been a Golden sparrow for the rest of the world, and it is regaining its pride back. Watch out for the billion people out there!

  • Comment number 75.

    So you're resorting to thinly veiled threats against me now?
    Obviously thinking balanced arguments are better than blinkered and biased ones is seen as something bad in your eyes.

    I'm thoroughly bored of exchanging comments with people like you - those of your countrymen not like you are, on the other hand, a pleasure to converse with, and also unlike you, are much more courteous. I shall be complaining about your comment as things like that go way beyond the acceptable.

  • Comment number 76.

    The blog post is largely balanced and entertaining. The comments less balanced and more entertaining (with some honorable exceptions).
    I'm an Indian who has lived near Delhi for most of his life. My only significant exposure to 'western' civilization has been a month-long trip to Australia. This was in 2005, before the apparent bad blood of recent days. Like all first-time developing-nation-to-developed travelers, I marveled at the clean roads, empty squares, clear skies etc, but could accord it to the minuscule population density, and a scientifically advanced race being given a fresh start on largely virgin land, which they could clear of natives before political correctness became the norm. After spending a few days there, life seemed excessively relaxed and comfortable. I could understand why the Aussies are so enthusiastic about sport. There's little else in life to push against. For an Indian, just getting from home to work is a rugby scrum.

    There are serious fundamental differences between the history, social structure, economic models, family attitudes, and just about everything else of India and the western nations. There is no doubt there was substantial bungling in the buildup to the games, and hopefully it'll be investigated with the same zeal with which the faltering games were turned around. But even if it is not, I will give more attention to its context than zoom the camera in on a paan stain in a wash basin, probably spit by some poor construction worker who was seeing Delhi for the first time in his life, and must have felt himself especially proper for having spit in a wash basin instead of on the floor. The greatest irony was that the very workers who labored to build the Nehru Stadium wouldn't have watched the 'spectacular' opening ceremony, not having ownership of or access to TV, much less understood the English commentary.

    India faces huge challenges like all developing nations, and from what I've seen of a developed nation (and read of the rest), I consider their citizens the least informed to comment on its issues. If a Chinese or Indonesian makes a certain remark about how the Games were or were not conducted, I'll listen close. These are nations which have dozens of histories telescoped into each other, and have experienced the social complexity that arises from people with varied pasts and tongues being densely packed against each other, against a backdrop of scarce resources. Blaming corruption, poverty, illiteracy, lack-of-manners etc each on the other is easy, but pointless. Not that they shouldn't be removed, but it's a long and convoluted path where action speaks louder than words. Through trial-and-error, these nations are learning as they go along. China adopted a totalitarian system, and settled down into a reasonable modus vivendi after two decades of bloodied struggle (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution) and subsequent unshackling of the economy. India adopted a looser system, and passing of the original dynasty (Nehru/Gandhi), followed in quick succession by liberalization of the economy led to greater political chaos. But things are starting to settle down somewhat now. There will be a few more decades of struggle before the majority of India can be free of poverty, illiteracy, mannerlessness, and the rest of the ills that nobody forgets to remind us of. Neither anger nor concern are of any use in the face of such a muddled milieu, so just keep doing your work and gradually time will play its part. This is the apparently apathetic but actually reasonable view that most Indians form as they grow up (as #72 has said).

    The industrial revolution of Europe was fueled by the resources and markets of the colonies. The orientals had been rich for too long, and their leaders had become lazy and decadent, so they paid for it. Europe could colonize the already well-populated Asia and Africa, and simply take over the sparsely-populated US & Australia. It took the initiative, scientists burned the midnight oil, adventurers risked their lives navigating stormy seas and hostile coasts, and their descendants were rewarded with several centuries of prosperity. That is the story of all civilizations. Now as the west goes gray and obese, the orient rises again. The wheel keeps turning.

  • Comment number 77.

    @Vishal B
    Yours is the most insightful post I have read in a long time.
    As an Indian and more importantly, a person from a developing country, I could not have explained it better.

  • Comment number 78.

    @Vishal B
    You have summed up the ground reality in India very nicely, and yes the wheel keeps turning, and it is now India's turn to regain itself to its old glory days. The gray and the obese world-over would have to rely on young India, no matter what anybody would try to project gloom and doom against India. Lets keep our heads up and hope for the best, and ignore the rest of the shenanigans.

  • Comment number 79.

    Thanks, both.
    Just read a nice post of Tom's, where he goes to Chandgi Ram Akhara to explore India's wrestling roots. But is unfortunately closed for comments now, there is much to discuss on that theme.

    Sad to see all the negative comments on that post and this. Personally, I feel patriotism is a thinly-veiled and particularly insidious form of prejudice. Shouting "Mera Bharat Mahaan" (My India is Great) from the rooftops at every opportunity does not look as tasteful as some people seem to think. Rather than vent spleen, is better to either state cold facts, or just put one's shoulders to the wheel and keep working. Like Tendulkar or Gagan Narang would advise, "let the bat/gun do the talking."

    I didn't follow the BBC during the games, and as far as I know, most Indians didn't, being too busy watching the games live. The Indian media anyway made enough and more noise already. BBC hasn't become public enemy no. 1 for the 1.2 billion Indians (as one comment goes, tongue-in-cheek). Only a small fraction of the urban minority would have followed it. I came here later by chance, and liked all the post-Games analyses, so hanged around. It's interesting and informative to see the varied shades of opinion of various columnists/bloggers.

    P.S. recently learnt that the West Gate bridge, a Melbourne landmark, also fell during its construction in 1970. Is of course only one example of the challenges and setbacks faced in all major projects. Some food for thought for hysterical media outlets, especially channels like Seven, which were far more overeager than the beeb. Not every disaster has a 'native' hand in it.
    Nor is Suresh Kalmadi responsible for building bridges (looks like he'll become a convenient fall guy for the government, which is hanging him out to dry to cover up its own ineptitude.)

  • Comment number 80.

    I can't recall the actual words but the rhyme goes like this: "Two men looked out of the bars; one at the mud and the other at the stars." I am really, really sorry for the Western Media because as the Commonwealth Games have come to an end, they have been deprived of the chance of looking at the Indian mud. The adverse media was painful, to say the least. Whether it was racist or not, I won't go into that. But that reveals a human trait: feeling jealous of someone whom you consider the scum of the earth and who comes out with flying colours, belying your expectations. The old adage "Pictures don't lie" has been disproved in the sickening media blast against India. You come to the Games village, and then, to please your home viewers, you focus your cameras on the makeshift toilets in the servants' quarters and then crow about toilets being dirty. I think that reflects a mind-set filthier than the toilets shown by the western media. India is a great country, having a great 5000 years old culture. Every country has problems, but a great country knows how to overcome and present its best show. I think India has proved herself. Those who are unaware of India's history, should know that India was ruled by the British for about 200 years and during this period, India was bled white by these exploiters. So if there are problems, most of these are the legacy of the British Raj and India is truly struggling to overcome these. My only request to the bigoted western media is to look at the positive things.

  • Comment number 81.

    oops..before the grammar masters begin twisting my ear: "hung around" in my previous comment.
    Read a few more of Tom's posts, including an entertaining one about Bashes-Lashes-Dashes, and a heartwarming one about the two intrepid St Helena competitors. Now, am even more clueless why the jingoists are after him daggers-drawn. Before the games, the Indian media focused on tearing the games apart. During the games, it was busy following Indian athletes. 'Human-interest' stories that did not feature gold medalists simply got lost in the noise. Which is why it's important to have blogs like these, where sparkling new facets can be seen.

    I think this blog has unwittingly become a lightning rod for some readers' frustration, at the general muckraking that many media outlets indulged in. Not very fair on the blogger, but occupational hazard for anyone sticking his neck out and offering an opinion. Am sure your skin is thick enough already :)

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    ""Australian athletes went on a rampage, destroying electrical wirings & throwing a washing machine from the 8th floor to the ground."" Am not surprised that you missed this incident in your lows of CWG Delhi.


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