Fingernails scraping down a blackboard… the scream of a baby… your neighbour’s dog barking: what is the worst sound in the world? Many people have spent thousand of hours and countless dollars trying to find the answer to this question. Fortunately these Commonwealth Games, while being a shambles in every sense, have managed to answer this universal question.
You will have heard this sound hundreds of times, and since the beginning of these games it has been a constant drone in my ear. It starts with a nauseating beginning and then as the sound begins to burn blood in my ear, it then changes to something resembling a cat being skinned alive and then dipped in lemon juice.
Now the sound, on its self, is bad enough to put an average Kiwi in hospital for days on end. However, without question what has annoyed me at these Commonwealth Games has been the associated pictures pumped into my lunge as the musical diarrhea plays. Smiling Aussies laughing with one another as they look down on the kiwi athlete to the left or right makes my stomach sick. A picture of the Australian flag being hoisted skyward. The gold medal dangling tantalizing around the neck, usually with the other 4 that he/she has already been won.
Of course I am talking about the Australian National anthem. Without question the worst sound in the world.
A little google search for this piece of musical trash uncovers some rather disturbing facts about the song and its history. ‘Advance Australia Fair’ is the official title to the anthem of Australia. A revised version of a late nineteenth century patriotic song, it was officially declared the national anthem on 19 April 1984. Like most things Australian the song was actually stolen from another person. Peter Dodds McCormick, a Scot, composed ‘Advance Australia Fair’ under the pen-name ‘Amicus’ (amicus is the Latin word for ‘friend’) and in 1878 it was sung by 10,000 people at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January, 1901. They paid McCormick a pathetic £100 for his composition and then when Peter McCormick died in 1916 they waited until the song became free of copyright in 1966.
I must apologise for providing that information. Because when you next hear that dreadful noise, with those awful images that wont be then end of your agony. You now know that they stole it from a Scot and only paid £100 for the privilege. Dirty Aussies!
Finally a couple of videos that would help this ghastly piece of music become slightly better.
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The 2010 Indian Commonwealth Games Committee has added a final sporting event to this years games. Not content with the usual British sports the committee has decided to add a ‘spot the spectator’ element to each sport.This has been a decision made in the first few days of the Commonwealth Games
Speaking earlier today the chairman of the Games, Mala Bolamie, talked about this new initiative. “With so few people turning up to watch sports we had to do something about this drastic situations. Many people believe we should give away tickets but this is India, not some third world backward country. So we have decided to invent a new sport. Prior to the sport starting each competitor must pick a seat number and if your seat is sat in by one of the 34 spectators then you gain a point for your country. The beauty of this sport is every athlete is involved and the winning country will be declared at the closing ceremony.”
At this stage New Zealand is lying in forth place in this event with India the run away early leader. India are so far ahead there have been rumours of match fixing but at this stage there has been no official inquiry.
The training is complete, the preparation is over and it is finally time to begin the 2010 Commonwealth Games. As you probably realise this is the pinnacle of my sporting career and I just can’t wait to get started. This will be my second real Commonwealth Games and I am hoping for an improved performance from my last effort when the games were held in Australia.
While technically these will be my 8th Commonwealth Games, it has only been in the last two years I have taken my involvement seriously. Many people just view the Commonwealth Games as a time to marvel at the athlete’s ability to perform super human feats under immense pressure. To them the Commonwealth Games is a time to sit on the couch, eat food and just watch. Not me.
The Com Games for me, is the chance to pit myself against the world’s best just to see if our New Zealand selectors were wrong in leaving me at home.
As I have already stated, I was extremely disappointed at my performance during the 2006 games. My preparation was poor and small issues such as living with the in-laws definitely had an adverse affect. Essentially it was an away game which meant I was unsure about basic issues which I had taken for granted. Issues such as the distance from the couch to the fridge and back via the toilet, the range of the remote and I had issues with the new volume control. All these factors played a part in my poor performance. Even having a TV in my bedroom didn’t seem to ease the problems as the time difference didn’t go down that well with my wife Rachel, elbowing her during the Rugby teams victory in the7’s competition.
For me there is a twofold aspect to this year’s Commonwealth Games. Firstly, there is the watching and viewing side of things. This involves sports that are a little difficult to replicate in my living room. Gymnastics is one. While I certainly don’t doubt my flexibility and my high bar routine is second to none, the fact that this sport requires judges precludes me from taking part. This has only been a last minute decision as during the 2006 games my floor exercise was up there with some of the best from the Indian orphans. Even Ray (my father in-law) was speechless as I rolled around effortlessly in his lounge in my lycra one piece to Lenard Cohen. I can still visualize the tears I saw welling up in his eyes.
Other sports such as horse riding and boxing fall into this category as they are just too difficult to run successfully in our 5m by 4m lounge. These are the sports I just sit back, watch and enjoy, knowing that the cards life has dealt me, mean that I am unable to prove myself in these disciplines.
However, there are a number of sports that you can actually join in during the Commonwealth Games and with the latest results online you can actually rank yourself.
For me the first week is going to be slightly easier than the second. Traditionally, I haven’t been strong in the Aquatic section but this year I have a slightly smaller bath, which I am hoping will help me make the top ten in most events. While I have had some doubters over the years I make sure that I keep to all international swimming rules except one. Firstly, I start in the water as diving into out 55cm deep bath could prove disastrous and secondly, I swim in the nick, none of the latest Addidas full length babies for me.
Just to give you an idea, about how things work, our bath is 1.8m long. Therefore, for a 100m swimming race I have to touch the each end a total of 56 times. The current world record for the 100m freestyle 47.50 and I am sure that by sitting in the middle of my bath I can touch each end 28 times in under 45 seconds. One of the drawbacks with the small bath is that we can’t get the entire Banbury Family in there at once so we have had to reluctantly, excuse the pun, ‘pull the plug’ on our involvement in the relays.
Also during the first week I have cycling which will involve the use of Asa’s small bike and my wind trainer. I have even bought a small water pistol with a range of 20m for the shooting events. Apart from those events the first week is about watching and becoming absorbed in the Commonwealth Games Spirit.
The second week will be physically draining and that will be when my training comes to fruition. Without boasting I am hoping to come away with about 7 medals. Our treadmill has already been positioned in the lounge and I have preset in the memory all of the distances from 100m all the way to the 50km walk. I have managed to rig up a very impressive high jump contraption and one of the rocks I dislodge while working on our garden will be used when I go head to head with Valerie Adams. While most athletes at the Commonwealth Games focus on one or two events I prefer to go with the blanket approach and enter them all.
While disappointed that my request for a black singlet and shorts was dismissed by the NZ Com Games Committee I have taken my own black ‘wifebeater’ and added a small silver fern with some double sided sticky tape. I have gone with the number 59-235-678 which is my IRD number.
Just quietly I am really focussing on the 800m and 1500m events. Traditionally these have been New Zealand’s events and hopefully I will be able to restore some pride. My main secret weapon for both these races is my finishing kick. During my training I found the 12km/ph speed limit on my treadmill concerning and a quick look at the fastest times highlight that about 15 runners have already run faster than me this season. Therefore, I have taken the drastic step of hooking up the lawnmower to the treadmill and I believe the extra 4.5hp will ensure victory for the black singlet. As a by product the petrol fumes and black smoke that bellows from the engine creates an authentic Delhi climate in our own lounge.
I also challenge you to take part in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Like me you are probably frustrated at New Zealand’s tough selection criteria and this could be your chance to put forward your case for the next Olympics.
If not and you prefer to sit and cheer on our New Zealand athletes, just remember that while there may be no New Zealand athletes in the 100m final, there is one die hard New Zealand runner recreating our famous history in his lounge while choking on his lawnmower fumes.
The New Zealand team is still to name its flag carrier for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. In a strange move this prestigious position has yet to be filled and with the continued silence comes the rumours. A number of sources have suggested that New Zealand Chef de mission Dave Currie has forgot to do this job and no one else has taken up the slack. That he has forgot is no surprise, considering he has spent the week re plumbing the New Zealand village and clearing it of large insects.
However, other sources closer to the team suggest that Currie has attempted to select a flag bearer, but with each selection comes different problems. First up it was thought that South African born Irene Van Dyke could be the perfect choice. But in a practice run earlier in the week the 10 foot flag added to her 9 foot frame meant that the New Zealand flag was a danger to low flying aircraft in the nearby Delhi International Airport.
Next up on Currie’s list was Valerie Adams. However, in her practice run she accidentally thought the flag was a javelin and she threw it 76m. While Currie was outraged, and ran after the wayward flag, it was noted that this was a new world record for womens javelin and there are rumours that Adams may swap events after these games.
Nick Willis was also a candidate that Currie put through his paces earlier in the week and by all accounts he looked the brightest until he came around the final bend and into the finishing straight. From then on he dropped the flag and sprinted, arms aloft to the finishing line. The rest of the New Zealand team were left standing without a flag bearer.
The final theory which for me is the most obvious is that the Indian authorities in charge of the Commonwealth Games have yet to actually finish our flag. No other piece of equipment is ready for these games and I see no reason why we should assume the New Zealand flag will be done before the opening ceremony. Authorities in India however, are quick to point out that they have people working around the clock getting these games together. Lets just hope they have someone working on our flag.
India is the latest country to pull their team out of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This follows the high profile departures of Fiji, Google and the entire Malawi Press Association, all citing inhuman conditions at the tournament.
With crumbling venues, unfinished athlete accommodation and the threat of terrorism and kidnap, team after team have pulled out of this year’s competition that rivals the Olympics in terms of number events, if not number of teams, media coverage and most other measures.
With most of the Indian team collecting their Indian polo shirt, cap and water bottle last night many of them felt the time was right to now depart. Already many of these items are now on e-bay and will earn most athletes more than their normal yearly wage.
Rubbish Binny, head of travel for the Indian Commonwealth team, justified pulling out of a competition being held in their own country.
“Due to financial cut-backs, all the athletes are required to make their own way to Delhi, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Delhi, but traffic there is a nightmare. This is nothing to do with the accommodation. Several of our team live outside Mumbai, and this accommodation is like the Paris Hilton to them. You’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire?
In other news it has been reported by India Games authorities that Malaria has been struck off the list of banned substances for the upcoming Games.
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The Indian Prime Minister, Punjabi Singh, is in a state of disbelief that many of the world’s finest athletes are deciding to stay away from the 2010 Commonwealth Games. In a statement released yesterday he condemned many of those who have decided that the facilities in India are not up to standard.
“I have been to every games facility and I find no reason why these stuck up ‘first world’ athletes are putting the boot into my wonderful country. In every area of the games we have delivered beyond what was expected. The Commonwealth Committee asked for a 50m pool and we have delivered beyond expectations a 3km pool complete with float debris and bathing children. Just because we have brown water, a few of the athletes believe it is unsafe. Our indoor stadium comes complete with an open air roof which will provide much need air circulation into the facility.
Earlier today I visited the Games Village and was impressed with every inch of the facility my country men have made with a few sticks, a little concrete and plenty of dried mud. We have provided a corner diary on every single corner, there is a 24hr curry house with a multi-lingual menu and each room has cable TV with 24hr Indian TV. What more does anyone need in life? There is running water available to every athlete, they just have to walk 2km and collect it in buckets, like 700million of my country women do every day.”
While the Indian PM was talking and inspecting the games facilities, I took a couple of pictures of what the facilities our New Zealand athletes will be using over the coming weeks.
India faces a race against time to get ready for the Commonwealth Games which start in 9 weeks time. So far not one of the venues for the World’s 7th largest sporting event is completed and time is running out for the country where the curry flows and the sun blazes.
A number of contries, including superpowers Fiji, Tonga and South Africa have express disapproval at the lack of progress being made and have even hinted at boycotting this years event. As yet the New Zealand Olympic committee has not yet issued a formal statement. Chairman Fred Dagg has recently returned for a trip to India to inspect venues and has yet to recover from extensive diarrhoea, malaria and food poisoning.
However, over the last two weeks things have started to turn in favour for the host countries. In an inspired move the Chairman of the Olympic committee has called a halt to all ‘corner diary’ building a focus on more sports related construction. This move coincided with a recent spell of wet weather which was much needed to fill the swimming pool has improved the moral of all people living in India.
So with things starting to look brighter for India can they turn the tide with 58 days to go. Judging by recent photos taken from India they have a long way to go.