Commonwealth Games Blogs

Delhi: To go, or not to go? That is the question

I have to admit I never thought it would come to this.  

In my first blog entry in this series I lamented how India has always eluded me. Now, she seems to be trying her best to do it again: engineering failures, incomplete residences, flooded streets and an outbreak of dengue fever to name a few of her tactics.  

The Village

As the media has been reporting, the athletes village for the Commonwealth Games is apparently not up to snuff.  Many Canadian athletes have commented that this is no big deal.  They suggest that as long as the competition venues are completed then we should suck it up and not complain about the conditions in the village.  

I can see this perspective for the athletes whose events will last a few days or less, but that is not the case for the badminton team.  We will start competing October 4 and could still be competing a full ten days after that.  If we aren't sleeping well, eating well and staying mentally relaxed, it will start to have a significant impact on our performance.

It would be one thing if we were going for a business conference where we only needed our minds.  But to compete at our best we need our minds and our bodies to be rarin' to go. (Side note: Could you imagine if this were the G7 Summit? "I'm sorry Mr. Prime Minister, you'll have to use the toilets in the adjacent building").

I have heard the Athletes Village is beside a dump and downstream from a large river dam that could apparently burst and flood the Village if water levels rise. Knowing October is the rainy season, I can't help but ask which urban engineer thought placing the village in this location was a smart choice.  

This is my last Competition, so I'll be going. Period.

Pardon the tone of frustration in this entry. But these Games are my very last opportunity to represent Canada, my swan song after dedicating the past 12 years of my life to this sport.  I want to go out with a bang (that's the sound of a medal clinking against my teeth, not a foot bridge collapsing) not a whimper.

For the rest of our team, I would completely understand and probably even support their decision not to go to Delhi.  (One team member has already made this choice and I wouldn't be surprised if more follow suit.)  The reasons are logical: this event is scheduled just before three other major international tournaments, the first being the Pan American Championships in Brazil starting just days after Delhi.  If I were in their shoes, I wouldn't go to Delhi, as the Pan Am Championship and the two events following that are important world ranking tournaments that will affect their chances for London 2012.

But for this old horse, there are no more team events or major opportunities to stand proud for Canada. This is it, and come hell or high (monsoon) water, you'll find me in Delhi in ten days time.