The Commonwealth Games

 

The Commonwealth Games, in India, was a disaster waiting to happen. That was the general view of people I spoke to when in Nepal and they had justification in saying it. With bridges collapsing, ceilings falling in and an apparent lack of enthusiasm from the host population, it wasn’t looking great. However after going to three different venues over three days, I think that as of the time of writing it has been a success. Considering all of the problems that led up to it it was a thoroughly ‘organised’ and enjoyable event.I went to see Athletics on the first day. Watching the 100 meters live has always been an ambition of mine and whilst it may not have had the under 10 seconds sprinters it was still incredibly impressive to see how quick they actually go. Yesterday it was the turn of boxing. Saw the middleweights and super-heavyweights fight it out. By far the most entertaining bouts were with the Indian fighters as the crowd in the stadium went absolutely crazy. This morning I finished off my games binge by watching our Mens and Womens hockey teams win and also the Australians narrowly edge out the Pakistani’s.

For all the enjoyment I and others I spoke to had, we all shared big issues with the intelligence of the organisation of getting into the stadiums. The organisation committee has essentially handed over the running of the games to the Indian police. From my limited experience of them they are about as unhelpful and unintelligent as you can get. As a result the games itself is well organised, just lacking in common sense. Hence it was no surprise to see a 42 odd list of restricted items. This included cameras, any sort of bag, Ipod headphones (the Ipod is fine to take in) and any coins in your wallet! I even got interrogated for several minutes over some paper in my pocket I had brought for a blocked nose! A lot of people have had to make difficult decisions whether to leave things in a left property box or not enter the stadium. This procedure of searching and confiscating everything followed me to every stadium although I did get some revenge on the second day by striking (accidentally) one of the policemen in the face, much to his partners (and mine) amusement. He wasn’t so happy and demanded to see the coins in my pocket, that I didn’t have.

I also found the rigid structure to getting into the stadiums utterly unbelievable. At one point, after walking aimlessly around a perimeter wall attempting to find gate 6 and access to the stadium, I was stopped 10 meters away from it. There was nothing but a clear path. However the armed police decided I couldn’t get to it that way and instead had to cross two bridges (there was no water!). I then decided to attempt to cross another way, again clear road but then as quick as a flash more armed police! It took a further 45 minutes and for no reason at all. I suppose in hindsight the farcicle nature to some of the decisions were actually quite amusing however at the time and when in a rush to get to your seat they are nothing short of bewildering.

But saying all that when inside the stadiums everyone, including myself was having a great time. The Indian crowd, when it’s their own boys and girls, or it’s the Pakistan team or even England and Wales sure do get behind them, which added to the occasion.

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