ATHLETES’ VILLAGE, NEW DELHI: The Commonwealth Games ended today after 11 days of fiery competition that went some way to mending the damage done to Indian pride and prestige tarnished by the chaotic buildup to the event reports AFP.
The drama of the last of the 272 gold medals provided the perfect ending for the Indian hosts as poster girl Saina Nehwal saved a match point against Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo in winning the women’s singles badminton title.
That was India’s 38th gold, one clear of England and for the first time ensuring them second place in the Commonwealth Games medals table. Australia were runaway winners with 74 golds and a total of 176.
Nehwal’s win also eased Indian pain from earlier in the day when their men’s hockey team crashed 8-0 to world champions Australia in a record loss.
Kenya finished top nation in athletics by winning the men’s and women’s marathon races and New Zealand defended their netball title in a cliff-hanger over Australia.
Meanwhile, with the closing ceremony to go later in the evening, there was relief on the part of the organisers that the Games had gone off without a major security lapse, even if the precautions taken meant that events like the marathon and cycling road races took place in eery isolation, Reuters reported.
End of live updates
India ahead of England in race for gold
Saina Nehwal, the first Indian woman to win a Super Series tournament, became the first to win a Commonwealth gold medal on Thursday, but had to save a fraught match point to do it.
The great home favourite made the last match of the tournament the most dramatic, surviving by about one inch near the end of the second game in a 19-21, 23-21, 21-13 victory over the second seeded Wong Mew Choo.
The Malaysian had nearly beaten the Hyderabad heroine in the team event six days previously, and would have done so in straight games this time had Nehwal’s kill at the net at 20-21 travelled a fraction further. Instead it landed plumb on the baseline.
This narrowest of survivals roused the crowd to even higher decibel levels, injected Nehwal with fresh adrenaline, and brought a feeling that this title, here in India, was one that she really was meant to win.
“I have to focus on the smaller things, do what I have to do, and not get affected by expectations,” Nehwal said. But it was not until the moment of crisis that she did that as well as she could.
Tweeple celebrate Saina’s gold
A pair of Kenyan marathon runners withstood Delhi’s morning heat as they raced through deserted and heavily secured streets to claim the first gold medals on the last day of the Commonwealth Games on the final day (Thursday).
The Indian capital was again locked down for the marathon and ahead of the evening closing ceremony, which will bring down the curtain on 12 days of action at the $6 billion Games for 71 mostly former British colonies.
Indian police ruled out any new threat to the closing ceremony and denied any additional personnel had been deployed in addition to the 100,000 police and military who have been guarding Delhi and the various Games venues.
India’s hope was that the event would display its ability to put on a world class multi-sport gathering but chaotic preparations and a series of organisational blunders turned the Games into a potential public relations disaster.
Suresh Kalmadi, the chief local organiser who bore the brunt of public anger and was booed at the opening ceremony, said he thought the 19th edition of the event had recovered well from its tumultuous start.
“All apprehensions that were there earlier I hope they have all disappeared,” he told a news conference.
“The whole Games was built around the athletes and the athletes have really enjoyed themselves… There were many challenges and we have face up to them so I am very pleased.”
Reports in British media of a specific threat to the closing ceremony again highlighted security concerns, which caused some athletes to stay away from Delhi.
“I have checked with the Delhi security people and our own Games security adviser and we have been assured that all threats have been examined and dealt with and the appropriate measures are in place to ensure good security,” Games Federation chief Mike Fennell said.
Rajan Bhagat, a spokesman for Delhi police, said there had been no change to their plans. “There is no addition to the number of security personnel,” he said.
“There is adequate security and there is no change in the levels of threat perception.”
Final classification in the CWG men’s field hockey tournament after Thursday’s final day:
3 New Zealand
5 South Africa
10Trinidad and Tobago
Blogging for BBC, James Pearce writes that despite the plethora of problems surrounding the CWG, they exceeded most expectations:
I was in the main stadium with Lord Coe on Tuesday night when the Indian women’s team won the 4×400 metres relay – the first track gold for India at a Commonwealth Games since 1958.
There wasn’t a spare seat in the house, and the noise was deafening. Lord Coe described it to me as “potentially the moment that could change the course of athletics in Asia, the moment that could inspire thousands of people who’d never even seen an athletics track before to get involved”.
That was a bold statement, but it illustrated the importance of the bigger picture. As Lord Coe said: “To build a truly global capacity in sport, you have to take it round the world – out of your own backyard. That means taking risks and facing challenges, but it has to be done.”
I really do believe that Delhi has exceeded most expectations. Of course there have been problems. I said in a TV report that maybe the slogan for these Games should have been ‘Better Late than Never’.
Australia win the CWG men’s field hockey gold by beating India 8-0 in the final here on the final day. It is the worst ever defeat in the history of CWG hockey final.
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Michimanda of India won the women’s doubles gold medal at the CWG on the final day defeating Shinta Sari and Yao Lei of Singapore 21-16, 21-19 in the final.
The bronze medal went to He Tian Tang and Kate Wilson-Smith of Australia.
Malaysia’s Elaine Koon wins gold in the rhythmic gymnastics hoop event at the CWG on the final day.
The silver medal goes to Francesca Jones of Wales.
Chrystalleni Trikomiti of Cyprus wins the rhythmic gymnastics rope gold at the Commonwealth Games on the final day.
The silver medal went to Naazmi Johnston of Australia with the bronze going to Francesca Jones of Wales.
The Commonwealth Games end on today (Thursday) with an opportunity lost to show off New Delhi to the world after a collapsing bridge, rogue snakes, health scares and heavy-handed security took the sheen off “Incredible India”, according to a Reuters report.
But India’s economic juggernaut has emerged unscathed despite dire predictions a chaotic Games could repel investors, a signal returns are too enticing for foreign firms hardened to realities of doing business in a booming trillion-dollar economy.
For many Indians who only two weeks ago labelled the event the “Shame Games”, it was an unprecedented success, with the country’s best-ever gold medal tally.
“The Games has turned out to be better than worst feared,” said V. Ravichandar, head of Feedback consulting in Bangalore, which advises multinationals.
“The Games were really a metaphor for investment in India. It’s not a smooth ride but things work out in the end.”
After sparse crowds ruined the atmosphere in the first week of the two-week event, crowds soon swelled, with the medal results providing a respite for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his ruling Congress party, which before the Games had been under pressure to save India from international embarrassment.
They escaped to govern another day, but it may be a nail in their political coffins as a younger generation led by family scion Rahul Gandhi waits in the wings.
The wider and much publicised chaos of the preparations highlighted the gap between India and China when it comes to infrastructure.
When organisers called on luxury hotel chains to clean up the athletes’ village, it underscored the fact that the private sector motor that drives India had been left out of a Games run by a state immersed in red tape, cronyism and graft.
Thus, the Games failed to be the coming-out party the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was for China.
For foreigners, delegations threatening to quit with filthy rooms, dog faeces and dengue-carrying mosquitoes in the Games Village were the overarching memory.
“TYPICAL OF STEREOTYPES” It was a sign of the health of India’s business that the blue-chip Semex stock index hit a near three year high during the Games. India has attracted a record $21.4 billion in foreign funds into stocks this year – one-third of that since September.
Allindiatoday.com reports that tickets for the closing ceremony are sold out:
On this closing ceremony, the flag of Commonwealth Games Federation would be given to the representatives of 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games officially.
But the tickets for the closing ceremony were sold out nearly 48 hours before the event. The ticket for the closing ceremony is priced at Rs.750, Rs.4, 000, Rs.20, 000 and Rs.50, 000. The tickets for the event which was under the category of Rs.750 were sold out one week before.Â Then the tickets in the category Rs.4,000 were sold out three days before. Only eight tickets in the category of Rs.20, 000 and 250 tickets in the category of Rs.50, 000 is available in the tickets counter on Tuesday morning. But all tickets were sold out in the tickets counter on Tuesday night itself.
The closing ceremony is held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main stadium on October 14th 2010. People are waiting to see the closing ceremony of Commonwealth Games 2010. The chief guest of the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony is Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
New Zealand win the CWG men’s field hockey bronze, beating England 5-3 on penalties after scores were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation and extra-time here on the final day.
Koo Kien Keat and Chin Eei Hui of Malaysia win the badminton mixed doubles gold on the final day defeating England’s Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork 22-20, 21-12 in the final.
Chetan Triyachart and Yao Lei of Singapore took the bronze.
Irene Kosgei wins Kenya’s first-ever CWG women’s marathon gold medal when she beat teammate Irene Mogake to take the title on the final day.
Kosgei crossed the line in 2:34.32, some 11 seconds ahead of her compatriot with Australia’s Lisa Weightman claiming the bronze.
The tall Kosgei, the fastest woman this year, and Mogake went shoulder-to-shoulder for much of the race, running as a team and talking to each other, before a charge to the finish.
In a race run in difficult circumstances with hot and humid weather, Kosgei proved the stronger of the two after taking the initiative with two kilometres to go.
It was a remarkable recovery by Kosgei who fell heavily at a drinks table in the early part of the race, but got up and carried on. For much of the race it looked like Namibia’s Beata Naigambo was destined for bronze but Weightman timed her race well and launched a challenge in the late stages.
She finally broke Naigambo and with a determined look on her face she upped her pace in a late bid to catch the Kenyans but the gap proved too big and she was forced to settle for third.
The race was an emotional affair following the death of 2002 and 2006 champion Kerryn McCann from Australia in December 2008 from breast cancer.
Kenya’s John Kelai wins the men’s CWG marathon gold medal on the final day, crossing the line in 2:14.35, AFP reports.
Australia’s Michael Shelley took the silver some 53 seconds behind and another Kenyan, Amos Matui, claimed the bronze.
In hot and humid conditons, it was Kenya’s first Commonwealth marathon victory in 20 years and rounded off a superb Games for their athletics team.
The big and strong Kelai took control of the race with around 25 minutes to go when he made his move with a subtle increase in pace that took him away from the field.
Looking relaxed and controlled, he built on his lead to comfortably win the race. The battle for second was far more interesting with Matui, Tanzanian defending champion Samson Ramadhani and Namibian Reinhold Iita switching positions as they battled for position.
But Ramadhani and Iita did too much too soon and they slowed considerably to let Shelley back into contention with two kilometres to go and the fight was then on between him and Matui for silver. Shelley eventually triumphed with a smart, tactical run.
More in PakistanMore than 6,000 Pakistanis under surveillance