With only four days to go for the Commonwealth Games, ‘welcome’ was the key word for volunteers and officials inside the Games Village. With new contingents pouring in on Tuesday, it was smiles and polite handshakes all around, with everyone ready to showcase India’s famous hospitality.
In the morning, 80 Australian athletes and officials checked into the Village, with 48 more expected later. Madonna Blyth, captain of the women's hockey team, said, “The weather is very hot. We're hoping to acclimatise quickly.” With the Hockeyroos set for a series of day games, Blyth said that the team “will need to be in great shape.”
Earlier in the day, Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik expressed satisfaction with the Village. “Our rooms are clean and the facilities are all right. Everything is up to the mark as far as security is concerned.” The Pakistani contingent is set to arrive on Wednesday and Malik said they would directly check into the Village. “This will be a good opportunity for our players to interact with the rest of the Commonwealth nations,” he said.
His Bangladeshi counterpart, Tarik A. Karim, also gave a thumbs-up to the arrangements and said the players would be arriving on Thursday.
Tanzania, Cameroon, The Bahamas, Cook Islands and Brunei Darussalam hoisted their national colours in the Village.
Athletes from tiny Cook Islands, located in the South Pacific Ocean, swayed and danced to the Commonwealth anthem as young children performed. Wearing flowers wreathes around their head, the athletes had angarakhas draped around their shoulders.
Netball player Melissa Pittman, in her green and white kit, said, “We are hoping to take back a lot of good memories from India.” As two NCC cadets smartly marched out and the flags were unfurled, everyone present stood up as the national anthems played out.
Lawn bowls player from Northern Ireland, Mandy Cunnigham, said the squad had arrived in the afternoon and did not have much time to look around. Sounding optimistic, she said, “We are just waiting to go out and compete and win some medals.”
Walking around the place, one could see the blue-and-yellow of The Bahamas, the red-and-white kits of Falkland Islands, women from Brunei in white headscarves, and a plethora of colours. As athletes came out of their flats to enjoy the cool evening, the internet café in the International Zone came alive, with players watching clips on YouTube and getting in touch with their friends on Facebook.
A senior hockey player from Trinidad & Tobago, staying in Tower 26, said, “The café has really good facilities. When I want to relax, I come down and log onto the internet, even though our rooms have wireless connection.” More teams that arrived were Canada, Jamaica and Malaysia among others.