The commonwealth Games have begun in Delhi, in fact we are into the fourth day of competition! As usual at the commonwealth Games, Australia is dominating and again as usual it is all happening at the pool and the velodrome. But does anyone in India actually know that the Games are on?
The lead up to these games have been marred with problems and delays etc. and now there are problems happening during the Games as well, the main one is crowd attendances.
On the first day of the Games the shooting took place and there was nobody there to watch it. That’s right, not a single person was sitting in the stands to watch representatives from commonwealth countries participate in an international sporting event. The next highly visible low crowd was seen, sorry not seen, at an Australian netball game, where the Australian score actually outnumbered the amount of people sitting in the stands. A netball game, where teams generally score around 45-65 goals and there weren’t even that many people in the crowd. To watch Australia no less, the number one team in the world at the sport of netball!
So have the commonwealth Games become so worthless, so pointless, that noone from the host nation will not a) go and watch their countries sportsmen compete against the commonwealths best or b) watch the commonwealths best. India isn’t even doing that badly, in fact, they are doing much better than I would have predicted for them. Here I was thinking they would only win medals in the field hockey and shooting, however as I write this they are sitting second on the medal tally with 14 gold, 11 silver and 8 bronze, totalling 33 medals. Too be honest, for a country not known as all-round sportsmen/women that is a fairly good return.
So obviously it isn’t the performances at the Games by the host nation, what about the other nations? Let me put it simply, the answer to that is no! There have been countless commonwealth Games records broken so far in the pool and at the velodrome in the four days of competition, that shows that performance levels are high.
What does that leave then as the problem? Advertising in the host nation? Ticket prices? Accessibility due to security measures? In my eyes it is the second of those, ticket prices.
Now while $50 doesn’t seem all that much to us folk here in Australia, it is a hell of alot over in India. The average yearly wage for a person in India is $1,740, or $145 per month. Using a 30 day month, that works out to approximately $4.33 per day. So one ticket to a sporting event, for an everyday person in India will cost them 13 days worth of salary. That is the main reason why the stadiums are empty! How do the planning committee for the Games remedy this then?
Simple, they open the games up for the Indian general public. Allow people to simply enter the arenas. There is no point the athletes being over there, showing their skills on an international stage if noone is in the stands to support them and make some noise. At one point during an interview in the swimming complex you could hear two things you should never be able to hear at an international event. First is the sound of crickets chirping, literally. Second is the echo of the interviewer asking his question because there is no other sound in the complex.
Get it right India, get some people to the Games so that there is some atmosphere, some form of excitement. Sitting here now watching the hockey (Australia v India) and there is finally some semblance of a crowd at the field. There is noise being made and due to that it is far more interesting than watching one of the other hockey matches where the crowd was like this… Empty!
So far these are the worst commonwealth Games in recent memory, my memory anyway. Bring the games back to Melbourne, we know how to hold a sporting event! In fact, bring the international events to Australia in general, we know how to get everyone involved and enjoying themselves! Fix it India, and quick!