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All smiles now at CWG Games Village

Last updated on: October 1, 2010 08:22 IST

Fear and doubt have given way to joy



Fear and doubt have given way to joy. Finally, the Games Village is all about smiles.

About 5000 athletes and officials have embraced the Village, which is now the place to be in, after a tumultuous build-up to the mega event that predicted disaster.

The sprawling Commonwealth Games Village has become a place of social and cultural milieu for athletes, delegates and support staff living there for the past few days.

The Village is spread over an area of 63.5 hectares and has all basic facilities, like postal services, bank, ATMs, discotheque, bar, cafeterias, handicraft shops, gym and shops selling wooden sculptures among others.

The athletes and officials can be seen mingling with their counterparts, enjoying a game of pool at the games room, having a hair cut at the saloon and writing about their first experience since arriving in India.

Image: New Zealand athletes pose with Indian performers on their arrival in the Games Village
Photographs: Reuters

'Our athletes are really happy with all the facilities'

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People are just wondering if all the negative things they had heard before departing for India were true; and all this at the happening International Zone. After long and tiring practice sessions, the athletes come to this zone and rejuvenate themselves.

"The Village is superb. Our athletes are really happy with all the facilities," says Australia's press attache John Gartfield.

An open amphitheater is where one gets the taste of Indian tradition.

Hundreds of school students dance and perform at other cultural shows during the flag hoisting ceremonies.

The delegates may not understand the language of the songs being played during the cultural shows, but the spirit and vigour with which the little kids perform, usually keeps them on their seats.

"India is really great. It is for the first time that I have come here. Though I did not visit many places, the Village here is helping me understand the country. I am very happy and buying souvenirs for my family back home," said Patrick, an athlete from Tanzania.

Image: Team members from Scotland play snooker inside the Commonwealth Games Village

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Few complaints from foreign contingents

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Foreign visitors have brought with them colour, language, tradition and culture of their own countries; the presence of all of them at the same place makes it look like a mini-world.

There are hardly any complaints, as, more or less people, are happy with what they have seen and got.

The Cook Islands contingent, which endured a 19-hour long journey and in which 15 hours were non-stop, was a perfect example of that.

The president of their Commonwealth Games Association, Sir Geoffrey Henry, said some problems do occur in an event of this scale is organised.

After their tiring journey and checking in as early as five in the morning and then not finding phones, or TV remote or Wi-Fi connection working properly could be frustrating but Henry chose not to make an issue of that.

"We are not looking it that way."

Image: A member of the Scottish team browses through artifacts inside a handicraft shop at the Games Village

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'Food here is awesome'

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Be it the chef de mission, coaches, team managers or the athletes, all are full of praise for the food.

"Food here is awesome. I'm trying a lot of cuisines here. It is simply a class apart," said Tuelo Daniel Serufho, Chef De Mission, Botswana.

The grand dining hall can serve about 2,300 people at a time.

There are a total of 34 residential towers, with 1,168 apartments comprising 4,008 bedrooms to house the athletes and team officials.

"Each and every facility from practice to recreation is being provided to all the residents here.

"People are very happy here and enjoying their life while waiting to compete during the sporting extravaganza. We are confident to see a good Games here," said Dalbir Singh, Mayor, Commonwealth Games Village.

Image: Members of the England Commonwealth Games team enjoy a meal at the food court in the Games Village

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Media hounding team officials

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There is a huge army of Indian and foreign media, and the Village has plenty to offer to the news-hungry tribe.

One team from almost all major media houses is always guarding the VVIP entry to make sure that they do not miss even a little piece of CWG information.

But the over-enthusiasm of the byte-hungry media could sometime be prickling.

Ask Bangladesh High Commissioner Tariq A Karim.

Just when he approached the exit door after inspecting the facilities, the TV crew and the scribes were all on their toes with their equipment.

They almost blocked the exit arena and when somebody asked if he was happy with what he saw inside, he retorted, "I am not happy with the way you are crowding me!"

Image: Canada's field hockey players Anna Kozniuk, Diana Roemer and Abigail Raye at the Village

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Looks like India will pull it off

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Media men heard that, but quickly forgot the remark as they got ready to 'pounce' on the next delegate.

Standing for about eight hours continuously and still welcoming every visitor with a smile is easier said than done.

But the men in khaki are certainly doing a good job.

Not to forget the volunteers, who may not be equipped with all the information one needs, but their willingness to share with whatever little input they have is heartening.

Looks like India will pull it off.

Image: A security personnel stands guard besides the mascot of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi

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