Source: www.nytimes.com By HEATHER TIMMONS
After all, most of the top international athletes have withdrawn, citing everything from safety to scheduling to muscle strains, as evidence of India’s abysmal planning piled up and Delhi was hit by an outbreak of dengue fever.
But the games, a quadrennial competition of nations from the old British Empire, may be closely watched by economists and business executives around the world nonetheless. As India emerges as an economic player, the business world will view the games as something of a management competency test.
“It is India, and India is a rising power,” said Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.
India, with its nearly 9 percent economic growth and rapidly increasing middle class, has become the latest popular destination for global companies and low-growth Western governments. That is why many of the same Western nations that were publicly upset by India’s lack of sports preparedness have recently stepped up their trade efforts with the country.
In July, Britain sent a large trade delegation that included Prime Minister David Cameron, and just last week Canada announced it would set up a chief executive forum with India and hoped to triple bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015. Australia is pushing hard for a free-trade agreement with India, and New Zealand has secured one.
The games are the first time that India has hosted a truly global athletic competition. In fact it is the first time in decades — since the Asian Games in the early 1980s — that India has held any major multinational sports event.
Despite photos of filthy accommodations for athletes, a collapsing footbridge, a tourist shooting and allegations of corruption, not a single one of the 54 participating countries and 71 teams has backed out of India’s Commonwealth Games. India, like other emerging economic powers including China and Brazil, has become too important on the world stage, analysts say.
“Nothing will progress without the cooperation of China, India and Brazil,” said John Lee, foreign policy fellow at the Center for Independent Studies in Sydney.
Emerging markets are expected to make up just over 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product this year, according to the International Monetary Fund figures, double their contribution in 1985. And partly because of the recession that was touched off by banks in the developed world, countries like India and China will contribute most of the global economy’s growth this year.
Emerging market countries are also increasingly hosting international sporting events, and, as developed nations are finding, they are doing things in their own way — whether it is the eerie precision of the Beijing Olympics, the glitz of South Africa’s World Cup or the chaos of India.
While developed nations seem to recognize the need to tap into India’s fast-growing economy, it still seems to be a tough transition for some to view India as a grown-up power to reckon with.
“I would hope that at the end of all of this India would have learned a great lesson,” the Commonwealth Games Federation’s president, Mike Fennell, said last week. In the past, such a remark might have been attacked as patronizing, or worse, by many of India’s top leaders and thinkers.
But in today’s India, where the number of billionaires grew by 50 percent last year — to 69 people, according to the latest Forbes list — no one in the government even seemed to notice. Rather than expressing remorse, Indian officials have started to make remarks seeming to ask what all the fuss was about in the first place.
“Anywhere, where international events take place, work continues till the very last minute,” Sheila Dikshit, Delhi’s chief minister, said last week.
Still, organization of sporting events and parades can be overrated as a measure of economic prowess, said Mr. Lee of the Center for Independent Studies.
“North Korea has great military parades with 200,000 people, but no one looks to them” to predict the future, Mr. Lee said.
Source: www.nytimes.com By HEATHER TIMMONS
Regal, grandiose, majestic, superb! Just a few words to describe the incredible Opening Ceremony today. Our flag bearer, Cleopatra Borel-Brown lead the TnT contingent as we paraded in the stadium.
The team wore black tee shirts, black pants, black shoes and a crisp white jacket adorned with a red scarf infused with the Trinidad and Tobago flag. We definitely looked spiffy!
After the parade we were warmly welcomed with presentations by several dignitaries including the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, who delivered a message, sent to us by Her Royal Majesty, the Queen.
Once the Games were declared opened, the organizers used music, dance, colour, lights and digital imagery to bring the entire stadium to life. The stage was transformed into an unbelievable sea of colour and rhythmic movement that had each and every Trini consumed with the almost mini carnival/historical atmosphere.
Tomorrow Trinidad and Tobago competes in five (5) sporting disciplines. Our boxers undergo a medical exam and will be weighed in. In aquatics, our athletes will compete in the 500m backstroke and the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Our lone squash player, Colin Ramasra, will clash with his opponent from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Hockey women will take on South Africa whilst our lone gymnast, William Albert will execute his routine. Three of our archers will compete tomorrow and our netballers will clash with Jamaica.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our athletes the best of luck in the Games and we know that they will continue to do Trinidad and Tobago proud.
With nearly 6,000 athletes already in Delhi and hundreds more streaming in by the day, the capital was putting the final finishing touches to preparations for the biggest ever Commonwealth Games today.
The 12-day sports gathering for 71 mostly former British colonies was in crisis a week ago but organisers seemed to have put the worst of the rash of preparatory problems behind them on the eve of the opening ceremony.
The late scramble by the government to salvage the $6 billion event might still not be enough to eradicate the public relations disaster of the last few weeks but the 19th Commonwealth Games can at least boast the most competitors.
"We are pleased that Delhi 2010 will be the biggest ever Commonwealth Games," secretary general of the Games organising committee Lalit Bhanot said in a statement on Saturday.
"More than 5,800 athletes and officials have already arrived in Delhi. With more arrivals scheduled in the coming days, Delhi 2010 is well on the way to becoming the biggest in history."
The 2006 Melbourne Games had 5,766 athletes and officials, Bhanot said, and Delhi is expecting to host 6,700 before the Games close on Oct. 14.
The late arrivals will land in a city in the grip of huge security operation aimed at ensuring the safety of the athletes and spectators, 60,000 of whom will pack the refurbished Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium today.
Some 100,000 security personnel have been deployed around the city and MiG fighters and helicopter gunships will be on standby. Police have had leave cancelled and Delhi government has ordered shops and commercial establishments to remain closed on Sunday.
The Delhi Games, intended to showcase India's growing financial clout with a display of soft power, had threatened to become a national embarrassment before the government intervened.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party-led coalition government have been accused of failing to give the Games the due attention expected of a large international event.
The organisers had seven years to prepare but the shoddy construction and filthy accommodation forced some of the foreign contingents to either postpone their arrival or put up in city hotels.
The organisers renovated most of the existing stadiums and some of the venues, including hockey and cycling stadiums, have been hailed as world class.
A Metro extension and a new airport terminal will be the other legacies of the Games.
India's president Pratbha Patil and Prince Charles will declare open the Commonwealth Games this evening.
Yesterday ,the Trinidad and tobago flag was raised at the Games Village,following a brief welcome ceremony for the T&T contingent.
The T&T athletes are happy with the facilites and some have said that the standard is better than previous Commonwealth Games and in some aspects the Beijing Olympic Village.
However come Monday the focus will be on the medal quest. The immedaite objective is to better the 2006 medal haul of three bronze medals.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games will officially start tomorrow with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.
The Games, the first to be staged in India, have been dogged by problems with the athletes' village being called "inhospitable" just last week.
However, Games officials have worked round the clock to ensure competitions start, as scheduled, on Monday.
Prince Charles will represent the Queen and arrived on Saturday.
His exact role had been a source of confusion with local media reports claiming Indian President Pratibha Patil would officially open the Games.
But Clarence House, after emphasising that both would have roles in the ceremony, has confirmed the Prince will read out the Queen's baton message before declaring the Games open.
On Saturday, there were concerns a number of teams could boycott the opening ceremony or send a token presence because they were unhappy athletes who were set to compete on Monday would not be able to leave early.
However after talks with organisers, athletes can now exit the ceremony any time up to 30 minutes before the end.
And another row is looming in netball with technical officials unhappy over security, uniforms and transport.
It was feared the event would not start as scheduled on Monday but competition venue spokeswoman Saumya Maurya told The Associated Press there had been some issues but "they will be sorted out".
About 7,000 athletes and support staff from 71 nations are expected in the Indian capital for the 19th staging of the Games.
However, construction delays, corruption scandals, a dengue fever outbreak, the collapse of a footbridge near the main stadium and a suspected militant attack on two foreign tourists have blighted the build-up.
The Games were further put at risk last week when several countries, including England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand expressed their concerns over the poor state of the athletes' village.
Some athletes had their departures to Delhi delayed while others were put up in hotels as more 4,000 people, who were drafted in to work round the clock, made sure the village was hospitable.
The cost of the Games is now estimated to have risen as high as $6bn (£3.8bn) - 60 times the original estimate when they were awarded in 2003.
But India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram has promised the money will deliver "foolproof" security.
Upto 17,000 paramilitary troopers have reinforced the 80,000 member of the police force on duty in the city.
"Turn your attention toward the Games, enjoy the Games," said Chidambaram.
On Friday, England's chef de mission Craig Hunter said: "We're certainly in a much much better place than we were.
"Our new arrivals are saying it's not as bad as we thought it would be. There are still some issues, and there'll be issues right until we leave, but the good thing is there's more rapid reaction to them and we can address them pretty much straight away."
England's flag bearer Nathan Robertson , a veteran of four Commonwealth Games, also praised the facilities for athletes.
"The village quality has been very good, the food hall's excellent -- actually the accommodation is possibly some of the best we've stayed in," said the badminton player.
The XXI Commonwealth Games has ended, and most athletes and officials have returned to their respective territories; and in some cases moved on to other competitions. In Jamaica, like the rest of the Commonwealth, there are ongoing post-mortems, from the local governing body, government, and the average citizen.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis, said Commonwealth Games gold medallist Michelle-Lee Ahye, as an outstanding athlete and role model for Trinidad and Tobago, deserves respect.
TTOC boss defends Commonwealth champion
“Do something good for the country…and they still find a way to be negative smh (shaking my head) Trinidadians.”
Australia’s Gold Coast has long been derided as an “overgrown resort town” and a “cultural desert”. But the 2018 Commonwealth Games allowed the host region to develop and communicate its big city credentials. Mega-events have been heavily criticised in recent years, but if planned properly they can bring many benefits for host cities, including social and economic regeneration. Gold Coast authorities were also interested in urban development: they wanted to show the world their coastline has matured from tourist resort to fully fledged city.
Over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 nations and territories made history over 11 unforgettable days of world class sporting action.