Finally, all bright and sunny for Commonwealth Games

By Anand Philar, IANS,

New Delhi : There is nothing quite like having the sun on the back to lift the mood, especially after experiencing unprecedented rains that all but swept the Commonwealth Games down the Yamuna.

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After weeks of chaos,controversies,scams and scandals, the chances of the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games being a success in its own right are as strong as the welcome winds that have been blowing across the plains, dispersing the clouds.

A visit to the Games Village, so much in the news the past fortnight for all the wrong reasons, was an eye-opener with there being little outward signs of anything being amiss.

Sportspersons wandered about freely in the well-appointed international zone that is dominated by the amphitheatre where colourfully attired cultural troupes performed, entertaining the athletes.

The Tanzanian contingent, for instance, was treated to a welcome dance and the Africans could not resist but to step on to the stage and do their own little jig, much to the delight of the troupe.

In effect, it was party time at the Village before the competitions get under way on Oct 4.

The Internet browsing centre, the ice cream parlour and the store selling official Games merchandise bordering the “square” were busy while a restaurant and the adjoining bar were awaiting formal opening.

A little beyond the amphitheatre, with its disctinctive “wave” roof with acoustical attributes, lay the two swimming pools, one of them temperature-controlled, but not open to media visits.

In fact, the Village is out of bounds for all television cameras except those of Doordarshan and the host broadcaster, at least for the present.

The news television crews had no choice but to wait outside the main gates, hoping for a chance byte from a celebrity sportsperson or a top official.

However, in the international zone, the enterprising among journos cornered officials and sportspersons for a quote or two for a story, but that apart, the relaxed ambience was much in evidence.

Village Mayor Dalbir Singh, who was in the eye of the storm last week following reports of flooding and unhygienic conditions, looked a man at peace as he patiently answered queries from a radio journalist on the conditions in areas under his jurisdiction. The big seal of approval came from Steve Moneghetti, the chef de Mission of the Australian contingent that has seen some high profile withdrawals citing security and health concerns.

“We are happy with everything here at the Games Village. We arrived here on Sunday morning and the transition from the airport to the Games Village was smooth and we are absolutely happy with the traffic.

“I haven’t received a single complaint from the athletes about the Games Village. Accommodation is perfect and the dining area is excellent,” he said.

(Anand Philar can be contacted at [email protected])