Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Athletes to hold fort in opening gala

In a first for the 80-year-old Commonwealth Games, athletes will be provided the honour of marching into the stadium for the opening ceremony, much like the Olympic Games. Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell announced the protocol arrangements for the opening ceremony of the Delhi Games at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on October 3.

“For the first time in the history of the Games the athletes will march into the stadium during the opening segment of the ceremony after which they will be seated to enjoy the rest of the ceremony,” a CGF statement said here on Tuesday.

“Both the CGF and the Organising Committee have agreed that the emphasis of the opening ceremony must be on the athletes of the Commonwealth, allowing them to be the focus of attention,” Fennell said.

The dignitaries to be present at the ceremony will include President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, HRH the Prince of Wales, as the representative of the Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen, Fennell himself and OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi, all of whom will officiate at the ceremony.

3,100 athletes check into Village

Athletes from around the world continued to pour into the Athletes Village on Tuesday. About 850 sportspersons arrived on the day, among them Canadian Susan Nattrass, a six-time Olympian and seven-time world trap shooting champion.

Jamaica’s contingent of 87 athletes who entered the Village included the shooting, cycling, netball and athletics teams. The other large contingents arriving included Northern Ireland (83), Samoa (57), Guernsey (55), New Zealand (52), Cook Islands (49) and Australia (48).

Australia, one of the countries that had slammed the village last week, said the organisers were working hard to improve the facilities with less than a week remaining before the start of the event.

“It’s pretty good. I feel completely safe and secure,” Lynsey Armitage, a member of the Australian lawn bowls team, said.

South Africa also said the first contingent from their 150-
strong squad had moved into the village on Tuesday after the residential zone was passed as fit by the team leader.
There was more good news as coach of women’s world 800m champion Caster Semenya assuring of her trip to India. “She is still coming to India,” Semenya’s coach Michael Seme told an Australian newspaper.


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