Village tales: Missing keys, betting bans and swanky quarters

Not just good food round the clock and preparation, life at the shelter for CWG athletes is also about following protocols and dos and don’ts.

Published: 09th April 2018 02:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th April 2018 07:18 AM   |  A+A-

Fireworks explode at Carrara Stadium for the opening ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

GOLD COAST: The wrestling team reported that some kettles were missing from their rooms when they checked in on Saturday. Some towels couldn’t be found either. Around seven keys had also gone missing. The India contingent freaked out. They did not want another embarrassment. Later, they found the kettles inside the cupboard. Hopefully, the other items will be found soon.

The Chef de Mission’s briefing is a daily ritual where day-to-day issues are discussed, grievances addressed and matters of importance disposed of. On Saturday, however, the meeting turned sombre. Intriguing as it may sound, the Games Organising Committee had asked all nations to sign an inventory where charges of each missing object were listed. Lost keys were pegged at A$5, towels at A$10 and kettles at A$20. The contingent feels around $250 as damages would be ideal. Games authorities have warned that missing items would have to be paid for.

Gambling and betting ban

Gambling or betting is a serious offence. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) manual says, “Refrain from gambling, betting or providing information to anybody that could use that information to influence or attempt to manipulate a sporting event for inappropriate or illegal reasons.”

Not just athletes, even family members have been prohibited from betting. Athletes have been warned that they should not pass on information to their family.

“I will prevent family members or friends from doing so (so far as I’m able), I will not share any performance information relating to competitors taking part in the Games with anybody, I will never accept money or any benefit in return for influencing the outcome of any events at the Games,” reads the Entry and Eligibility form.

The India team has charted its own dos and don’ts. They modified guidelines formulated by the CGF to insert their national concerns. All players have signed.

“No one can run away without taking responsibility,” says Vikram Singh Sisodia, the Chef de Mission. “We have asked all athletes and officials to sign this.”

This is the first ever gender-equal (medal-wise) Games. The CGF doesn’t want any discrimination over sex, religion, colour or creed.

“Refrain from any behaviour likely to intimidate, offend, insult or humiliate another person based on their sex, disability, race, colour, age, religion, national or ethnic origin (sic),” reads the guidelines. There have been cases when athletes were penalised for damaging a fridge or smashing a TV or even someone’s face. Adrenaline rush spiralling out of control — it happens in almost all Games.

As a deterrent, the CGF has listed this out too: “Refrain from any behaviour or engage in any activity, whether before, during or after an event or competition (including during training and other activities), that would impair public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of events and competitions or in the integrity and good character of the Commonwealth Games.”

Sexual harassment is another no-go zone. One Mauritian official has already been charged after a female athlete complained of inappropriate touching. The Games Village is on the highest alert for such offences. CGF CEO David Grevemberg said there is zero tolerance on this.

Athletes having a ball

The uber-chic bright multi-coloured apartments, well-lined pavements, manicured gardens, make it look like a set from a Hollywood flick. The plush A$550 million Village has four swimming pools, saloons and a bar.

As evening set in, a heavy moisture-laden wind swept across the Village and the temperature dipped. By that time, athletes are either returning or going for practice. Ace shooter Jitu Rai was loitering around when he was reminded by Gagan Narang about his event. “Go take some rest,” he told Rai.

Heena Sidhu and her husband-cum-coach Ronak Pandit also reached the venue after her silver. “We have not eaten anything since morning except a banana,” said Ronak before heading to Beach 2 where Indians are holed up in around 45 fully furnished two-bedroom flats. He was planning to head to the 24-hour dining hall where cuisine from across the world is prepared. And of course, like all Games, there are condom bowls placed at strategic places.

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