Friday, May 22, 2009

500 days to go until 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games

And double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, who was this week announced as President of Commonwealth Games England, is convinced next year's Delhi experience will be the perfect stepping-stone for Team GB success at London 2012.
A number of England's successful 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games medallists excelled in the Far East at last summer's Beijing Olympics - and Holmes is predicting a similar success-rate from Delhi to London.
"The Commonwealth Games have a continuing and important role within performance sport.
"They are unique in their own right and offer athletes the opportunity to experience a big, multi-sport event but they can also play a crucial role as a stepping stone towards Olympic success.
"That certainly was the case for me," said Holmes, who won Commonwealth Games gold in Victoria in 1994 and Manchester in 2002.
Among the Team England athletes to go on and achieve Olympic success in Beijing were boxer James DeGale, who fought his way to bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, before landing gold at last year's Olympics.
Gymnast Louis Smith won gold on the pommel horse in Melbourne before becoming the first Briton to win an individual Olympic gymnastics medal for 100 years in Beijing.
While cyclist Victoria Pendleton won gold and silver medals at Melbourne and went on to strike gold for Team GB at the Beijing Olympics.
Sir Andrew Foster, Chair of Commonwealth Games England, said "We're well into our planning for Delhi and we're looking forward to another strong performance by Team England across all sports in 2010.
"Team England athletes have a tremendous track record at the Commonwealth Games and the Games have proved a fantastic platform for young English athletes in the lead up to the Olympics.
"I'm sure Delhi will play a key role in the build-up to London 2012 and we're confident Delhi will deliver wonderful Games," he added.
The Opening Ceremony of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games takes place on 3rd October 2010 and will be followed by 14 thrilling days of action across 17 sports.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games will feature - aquatics (swimming, diving and synchronised swimming), archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, shooting, squash, table tennis, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.

Australia confident on 2010 Commonwealth Games

SYDNEY (AFP) — Australia expressed confidence in India's preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Thursday, but said its own efforts to protect the national team would be the largest ever mounted for the event.
The country's Commonwealth Games chief Perry Crosswhite has just returned from a pre-games summit in India and said he was heartened by progress on security, including the hiring of 8,000 new local police.
"We came away with... the feeling that they're right on top of the security planning right now," Crosswhite told reporters, according to the AAP newswire.
"They have given us a commitment they'll do everything necessary to ensure the Games are secure and that athletes and people who come to Delhi will be able to watch the Games in a secure situation."
However, Crosswhite said Australia still intended to provide back-up of its own to ensure the safety of athletes outside venues and the Games village.
It would be the largest security operation ever mounted for an Australian Commonwealth Games team, he said.
Chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said he was confident Games venues would be very safe and secure.
"It's the safest place in the world to be, at a major championship, because you've got such a security presence there," Moneghetti said.
"The venues and the city itself will be a very safe place to be."
Security concerns have grown in the subcontinent after 166 people were killed in militant attacks in Mumbai last November. In Pakistan in March gunmen ambushed a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, leaving eight people dead.
Seven Sri Lankan cricketers were also injured in the incident, following which the International Cricket Council abandoned plans to hold a part of the 2011 World Cup in Pakistan.
Tennis Australia pulled its Davis Cup team out of a tie in Chennai last month citing security fears, but Crosswhite said he had been assured by the sport's body that they would take part in the 2010 Games.
New Delhi is only the second Asian city to be awarded the Commonwealth Games. The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur hosted the 1998 event.

Docs trained to deal with emergency in C’wealth games

With 2010 Commonwealth Games approaching, doctors in New Delhi are now being specially trained to deal with emergency situations in the event of a terror attack during the prestigious event.
“Doctors are being trained to deal with casualties in the event of chemical, biological, radiology or nuclear (CBRN) terrorist attack during the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Doctors, both civilian and military, are being trained,” Dr M C Mishra, head at the AIIIMS Trauma Centre, told reporters in New Delhi.
On the various preparations in the run up to the event, Special Secretary (Health) Delhi Government N Balachandran said three hospitals in the capital were specially being equipped with the latest equipments and their facilities spruced up.
“September-October 2010 will witness a lot of movement of the foreigners in the country especially the national capital. The AIIMS, Ram Manohar Lohia and G B Pant hospitals have been identified for the Games and they are being equipped with the latest equipments.”
“Terrorists turn to new methods and means of terrorising people,” Mishra said, adding in event of ultras using a ‘dirty bomb’, radiation “cannot be smelt, felt or seen can cause harm to the masses at large”.
“In other forms of attack like a bomb blast, people can rush to the rescue of the victims. But if it is a biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear attack, one should know to keep away from the victims.”
Along with the doctors, people at large should also know how to deal with such crisis and casualties emerging from such disasters, Dr W Selvamurty, a scientist with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO,) said.

Union Activists Hold the Key to the Problems in Construction

LONDON - ATTN: News, Construction and Business Correspondents
Unite the union will be bringing together activists and union officials from across the construction industry for a national summit to fight for the right to work and to be paid properly.
Following the latest wave of unofficial action in the construction sector, senior union activists are calling for a national strategy to address the root causes of industrial unrest. The key to resolving the current problems lie with the union shop stewards, not with extremist political parties trying to hijack the agenda without offering any solutions.
Les Bayliss, Unite assistant general secretary, said:
“Union activists hold the key to resolving the serious problems in the construction industry. We are not opposed and never have been opposed to workers from outside the UK working on UK construction projects. However, Unite we will not accept employers turning worker against worker to undermine wages, terms and condition, health and safety and skill levels. These are all rights that trade unionists have fought long and hard for, while ultra right wing groups did nothing but stoke hatred in our towns and cities. They offer no solutions.”
The union will also be putting the role of energy providers on the top of the agenda. Unite believes the energy companies have a responsibility to ensure its contractors treat UK workers fairly. Recent waves of unofficial action and demonstrations have been taking place at construction sites belonging to the energy providers. But the workers’ anger and frustration because of exclusion and regular breeches of the national agreement, has so far been focused on the contractors employed by the energy companies.
Unite believes it is now time for the energy providers to take responsibility for the contractors and sub-contractors and insist that the contractors give UK workers fair access to work and that the national agreement is honoured.
Unite’s assistant general secretary, Les Bayliss added:
“It’s time to turn our attention to one of the root causes of the unrest in construction. The energy providers choose the contractors and they must take responsibility when the contractors break the national agreement or exclude UK construction workers from construction projects.
“Power companies will be charging us for electricity and gas and making a lot of money. It is unacceptable that they should allow contractors to exclude UK workers from building UK power stations.”
Source: Unite the Union

After Commonwealth Games 2010, India To Bid For 2018 Asiad Games

India will be a hot contender to host the 2018 Asian Games with Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah promising to make the case for the country which lost the bid for 2014 Asiad in 2007.
The OCA President, who met Randhir Singh — the General Secretary of Indian Olympic Association as well as the OCA — on his brief visit to the country, said it was high time India got the chance to host the Games in the new age.
“They are the founder of the movement. India has a vast experience of hosting the inaugural Games in 1954 and then in 1982 while it’s also going to stage the Commonwealth Games next year. The country has changed a lot and they should get the chance to host the Games with new technology in new atmosphere,” Sheikh Ahmad told reporters.
“Eighty per cent of the infrastructure created for the 2010 Commonwealth Games would be used for the Asiad. It has facilities like means of communication and transportation,” he said and added that “over the decades professionalism has grown and marketing has become better”.

Kalmadi assures world class security during 2010 Common Wealth Games

The turmoil prevailing in the neighbouring countries has made it necessary for India to be extremely careful about the security arrangements for next year's Commonwealth Games, according to Organising Committee, Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi. "We have to be very careful about the security. There would be a General Assembly of all the Commonwealth countries, who would be meeting in Delhi in October this year. We would have to satisfy them about the security arrangements," Kalmadi told reporters."We have the Governor of Delhi, who is heading the security aspects. We also have the Commonwealth Federation sending us reports and we are also sending them monthly updates about the security.Kalmadi said that the first task for the organisers would be to allay the security concerns of the participating countries."With security becoming an issue in the neighbouring countries, it is important for us to comfort them. We will put up a Beijing-like security bandobust in Delhi."We will put the best foot forward in October and make the right projection so as to satisfy the 71 countries who would be coming for the General Assembly meeting," he said.

Games on mind, MCD wants uniform signboards for a beautiful Delhi

With an eye on the beautification of the city before the Commonwealth Games, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has come up with a unique proposal. It plans to have a fixed size for all signboards outside shops in different markets. Those exceeding the prescribed measurements will be taxed.
As part of its outdoor advertising policy formulated to ensure uniform and aesthetically-driven advertising in the city, the proposal, tabled last Wednesday in a standing committee meeting, stipulates that shopkeepers should pay tax for all signboards above 2.5 square metres in size. The proposal fixes the width of signboards at 0.75 metres, above which they are liable to be taxed. While the tax rates will range from Rs 110 per square metre per annum to Rs 163 per square metre per annum, depending on the locality of a particular commercial establishment, the length of signboards will not be allowed to exceed that of the shop.
(Deepu Sebastian Edmond)

City archer aims at 2010 Commonwealth

HYDERABAD: Isaiah Sanam is a licensed pilot since 2007. But instead of flying the plane, Sanam is aiming to hit the bull’s eye as an archer. “My dream is to win a medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games at New Delhi. I have aborted my plans to become a commercial pilot temporarily so that I could concentrate in my favourite sport,” said the 32-year-old Sanam, who is hoping to compete in the compound event of archery at the sporting event.
Interestingly, he got inspired to become an archer by re-reading the stories of Robin Hood in 2003 in the US.
“He was my childhood hero. I was fascinated by his adventure in the forests with his bow and arrow. I then decided to take up archery and fell in love with the game. It is a sport where people may not enjoy it but as an archer, it is very gripping,” said Sanam, who managed to get the compound bow and arrows from a store despite his father’s reluctance as it was “considered dangerous.” For Sanam, what started as a whimsical event gradually developed into a fullfledged interest. On his return to India, he wanted himself to be enrolled in an academy to pursue his goal but what came as surprised to him was the lack og any archery academy in the city. However, his luck turned for good when he accidentally met a friend, who was a boxer training at Lal Bahadur Indoor Stadium. “I casually spoke about my love for archery to my friend, who immediately told me about a group of archers, who practise at the Lal Bahadur Stadium. He introduced me to coach Ravi Shankar. I think that was one of the happiest moment of my career,’’ he said.
According to Sanam, archery needs a lot of concentration, power and strength.
“It requires 100 per cent focus. There are many techniques involved in getting it right. It needs meticulous planning and hard work. An archer, like shooter, has to hit the Bull’s eye consistently. We have to look to the wind conditions which is sometimes very tricky,” said Sanan, who had outstanding performances in the National championship before making the international events.
His best achievements include a gold in the third Asian Grand Prix in Iran in the 70 m individual Olympic round gold and in the team championship silver in the same event, as well as a bronze in the Senior nationals.
Sanam has no regrets over the fact that Compound archery is not counted as an Olympic event. “I’m targeting a medal in the Commonwealth Games,’’ said Sanam, who is the top three in compound event in the country. “I’m in the probables list,” he notes with a smile.
Sanam is mighty thrilled that at last an archery academy has come up in the city, thanks to former international archer Arun Kumar, who has launched the Shooting Star Target Academy at Hitech city. “It has given me a chance to practice here. I can shoot the 70 metres distance otherwise I had to satisfy with my 10 metre range at my home. I hope this new academy unearths promising archers,” he says in his parting shot.
(N Jagannath Das)

World titles clash with Delhi Games

AUSTRALIA'S high-performance program is already six months into planning for the October 2010 world road championships-Commonwealth Games double.
The scheduling looms as a nightmare for Australia's top road cyclists, with the road worlds ending on the same day as the opening ceremony for the New Delhi Games.
But Cycling Australia national performance director Shayne Bannan is confident of handling the busy period without significant trouble.
The world road championships are among cycling's biggest events and securing them is a massive coup for Australian cycling. It will be the first time a southern hemisphere country has hosted them, and they are scheduled for Melbourne and Geelong from September 29 to October 3 next year.
The godsend for Australia is that Games cycling starts on October 4 with the four-day track program. The road races are not until October 10 and the road time trials are on October 13, meaning the Australian road team members can realistically target the two major events.
"What we intend to do is hold the team back in Melbourne in a training camp after the world road championships and only bring them into the Commonwealth Games three days before," Bannan said.
"We're concerned about the ability to turn up in India, for the training."

Netball:Pressure on players to commit for Ferns

The national selectors are putting heat on players vying for a place in this year's Silver Ferns squad to declare their availability for the next two years.
With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner and the 2011 World Championships soon after, Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken said this year's squad would be selected with an eye towards those events.
Given there is just nine months in between the Commonwealth Games and 2011 World Championships, Aitken said yesterday there would be no time to rebuild between campaigns so she needed her players to make a firm commitment now.
"While obviously nothing is guaranteed in people's lives, we expect players who are making themselves available this year to be looking at being available for next year and the year after," said Aitken.
"It's a two-year commitment really, players need to be available for those two pinnacle events, not just this year. So that's what we're encouraging," said Aitken.
The selectors' stance adds further intrigue to just who will be putting their names forward to be considered for this year's squad, which will be named in July.
Several veterans have returned to the selection fold this year after taking time away from the national team for motherhood or personal reasons. But the idea of making a two-year commitment may deter them from signing up for national duties.
Former Silver Ferns skipper Adine Wilson and her Southern Steel teammate Donna Wilkins have already confirmed they aren't interested in making a comeback to the international arena.
New mum Jodi Brown and Temepara George are still mulling over possible Silver Ferns returns.
A couple of the incumbent Ferns may also need to reassess their international playing careers in light of the long-term commitment required.
Last year's captain Julie Seymour will be 40 by the time of the 2011 World Championships and given she has struggled with a couple of niggly injuries in the past 12 months, the veteran midcourter may opt to end her Silver Ferns playing days.
Likewise, Irene van Dyk, who turns 37 next month, may be pushing it to make it to the next World Championships, although the evergreen sharpshooter indicated earlier this year she had no plans to retire.
Aitken said players would need to declare through their ANZ Championship franchises in the next week or so whether they intended making themselves available for the national side.
(By Dana Johannsen )

India Prepares for WMD Threat at Commonwealth GamesFriday, May 22, 2009

Doctors in New Delhi, India, are preparing to deal with fallout from a potential WMD attack at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Press Trust of India reported Wednesday (GSN, Sept. 21, 2005).
The games -- an international, multisport competition scheduled for Oct. 3 to 14 of next year -- is expected to bring a significant number of tourists to the city, which could make it an attractive target for terrorists.
"Doctors are being trained to deal with casualties in the event of chemical, biological, [radiological], or nuclear terrorist attack during the Commonwealth Games in 2010," said MC Mishra, head of a New Delhi trauma center. A senior health official said area hospitals are also being outfitted with equipment to deal with such an attack (Press Trust of India/DDI News, May 20).