A vital part of training before a mega event like the Commonwealth Games is acclimatising to the local conditions. A variety of factors ranging from weather to food and adjusting to the time difference can play a crucial role for athletes, many of who are on their maiden visit to India. But with
certain contingents having delayed their arrival by days, their field-training schedule has come under a complete overhaul.
Take the case of New Zealand. Scheduled to arrive in the Capital on Thursday, the first batch of Kiwi athletes arrived on Saturday and is likely to begin training on Sunday.
Much of it is same for the English hockey and lawn bowl teams as well, who began their customised preparations on Saturday, two days behind schedule. "Of course it's a case of more the days the better. The hockey team, for instance, will be up against Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa and India — teams that participated in the World Cup in February. So they know the venue inside and out. It does give them the edge," said Marion Bucharecht, special officer with the English Commonwealth Games federation.
But it's more than just one sport at stake here and the rush to familiarise with the local conditions is evident. "We hope to move the team to the village as soon as possible. If we are here for two weeks, we might as well get used to our residence to stay fresh and fighting during competitions," said Yan Huckendubler, assistant press manager of the Canadian contingent.
Some athletes, however, are banking on professionalism to combat the woes of delay and hope to perform regardless of conditions. Welsh hurdler Dai Greene says it's all about how one performs on a given day.
"When I get out there all I want to do is perform to the best of my ability on each day I compete. If I do that I know I can come away with the gold," he told BBC Radio 5 live.
The Indians, however, are making full use of the home conditions and experience gained during test events and will be praying to stay a step ahead of their competitors. "We are working on our defence and I am glad we got the venue before others. We will hope to make home advantage count," said Sandeep Somesh, chief coach of the Indian women's hockey team.