Canadian media grudgingly admits Delhi Games’ success

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Though the Canadian media praised the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony as “sparkling” and “spectacular”, it still kept up the rant, describing the event as “troubled” and “one of most dramatic and challenged editions of the Games”.

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For a media, which seemed far more obsessed with the repatriation of Afghan-Canadian terror accused Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay, the Delhi sporting extravaganza was kind of a sideshow Thursday.

“As some 7,000 athletes from 71 nations bid farewell to the New Delhi Games, they won’t forget the searing sun, the Games always being under heavy guard against terrorism, the late preparations and outbreak of dengue fever that threatened them at the beginning,” wrote the Globe and Mail.

“But, ultimately, the Games – a $6-billion showcase financed by the government to display India as an emerging economic force in the East – concluded without a terrorist incident.”

There was grudging acceptance of India’s rise in the sporting event, with the paper saying that the Games “reflected the upsurge by India, which dominated shooting wrestling and weightlifting events.”

Commonwealth Games Canada, whose president Andrew Pipe left no opportunity to find fault with the preparations for the Games, seemed somewhat humbled by India’s spectacular show at their cost.

Scott Stevenson, director of sport for Commonwealth Games Canada, said they expected their country to stay among the top three in the medal tally. “But we didn’t anticipate India would double their Melbourne result. It’s truly a testament to the value of hosting Games. Congratulations to India,” he was quoted as saying.

For the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, these were “the most controversial Commonwealth Games in history – marked by oppressive security and low spectator turnout – (which) came to a close Thursday without any major glitches as India celebrated the finale with an extravagant cultural show.”

Canada won 26 gold in its total of 75 medals as against 38 by India in its total of 101.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])