I was barely two months old when New Delhi hosted the Asian Games in 1982. Now, after 28 years, the Capital will host the second biggest sporting extravaganza, the Commonwealth Games, in October 2010.
I have been a part of three editions each of the Olympic, Commonwealth and Asian Games and yet this time, I am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games 2010 as we’ll play host to some of the best athletes around today; athletes who are an inspiration to me and a million others around the world. We’ve always raised the bar for hospitality and I hope we live up to the reputation this time as well.
My first Olympics in Sydney was an unforgettable experience. The Australians were very friendly and ensured that we were all welcomed with open arms. Their enthusiasm was palpable and the entire city was abuzz!
During the 2004 Olympics in Greece, I was impressed by the spirit of the locals. I had missed winning a medal and was very dejected when two complete strangers encouraged me and told me how proud they were of my effort. Honestly, that’s when I promised myself the Gold at Beijing in 2008. I am forever indebted to that couple.
In all my experiences at multi discipline events - be it the Olympics, the Asian Games or the CWG - it is the people of the city that make the games successful. It is their spirit that really brings the games to life and I am sure Delhi will rise to the challenge.
Every participant will try to overcome personal limitations and challenges and do their best. Delhiites should show the spirit of sportsmanship by appreciating performance and excellence irrespective of which country the participant is from! The CWG is a 10-day event that will unite the nation as only sports can.