When Suarez Bhotto of Cameroon defeated Melanie Artherson of Northern Ireland in a game of fussball at the international zone in the Games Village, it was clear that friendly bonds were being created. The cosmopolitan banner of CWG though also gives athletes a chance to size up their opponents and judge their temperament.
Bhotto and Artherson, who will both compete in gymnastics, were just enjoying an indoor game on a warm Saturday afternoon, but several others do keep an eye out for physical attributes during social interactions. “I didn’t know she would participate in gymnastics till you told me. Heck, who knows I could beat her there as well,” laughed Bhotto when Hindustan Times approached both of them.
Some others, however, were indeed serious when they left their rooms to interact with athletes from different countries. “I usually stick to my group of friends, but there are times when I chat up a stranger. Although not the idea, but yes you sometimes do end up sizing up their temperament, especially if you know they will compete in the same sport as you,” said an athlete from Australia who didn’t want to be named.
She did mention that though it is harmless, it can be an advantage as well if a duel occurs on the arena.
Some others like to see it as an informal, off-the-field videography without the tape. Take Bentley David of Cook Islands. The 25-year-old admits it’s an involuntary action of a sportsman’s mind and serves the same purpose as studying video footages of opponents. “It is not unethical and it is not cheating. Whether people like to admit it or not, they do it all the time. It does not give a winning advantage but can give a confidence boost or serve as a reality check. Like video-footage if you may,” said the swimmer.
So while players have truly settled into their new homes enjoying Indian hospitality, the greater game remains to be played out.