It may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not (published days after it was written)

7 Oct

I tried to stay away from all the bad press I’ve heard about New Delhi leading up to the Commonwealth Games. I took the advice of well meaning friends with a grain of salt. For a few reasons: first being that these may be my last Commonwealth Games. I’m no longer that ‘fresh faced young lady with her life ahead of her’. In 2002 I won the 400m at the CWG in Manchester. I had my whole life ahead of me because it was my first appearance at the CWG. I was fresh faced because no one had ever heard of me. I guess I was a young lady because I wasn’t a young man. The second reason was Beijing. Leading up to the 2008 Olympics, you couldn’t escape the bad press. I expected to never make it out of Beijing alive. I thought I’d suffocate to death, be poisoned, mauled, mugged or meet my maker through some other exciting demise. No such luck. After the Games, Beijing was rated as the best Olympics to date. As a participant of the last three, that was the closest thing to the truth since our manager uttered: I didn’t know that’s what I was here for!

The problem this time around was that there were pictures. Lots of them. Good lord and the videos. Beware of building 12 was the emailed mantra. After a while I wasn’t sure what id heard, read, or imagined. But I was doing race paced 300m in practice when it was two months past what would normally be the end of my season. So I was going to New Delhi. My coping mechanism was to think of it this way: countries are just saying those things to thin out the competition pool and maximize their medal haul. So, the best thing I could do was come prepared. And I was prepared…for a famine in the middle of nowhere more so than the CWG. I have enough supplies for a large family or a really tiny country. I had hand sanitizers, disinfectant (wipes and spray), pillow cases and sheets, blanket, dry food, snacks, towels… And that’s not all. But you get the point. I could open an infirmary. But that would be unnecessary, since there’s a polyclinic.

To date I haven’t eaten anything I brought. The food is good. There’s a track IN THE VILLAGE! That I’ve never experienced. I literally can roll out of bed, practice, then eat and repeat. I would’ve repeated, except it’s two months past the date that I should be doing any strenuous activity. This isn’t to say that there weren’t any glitches. Oh there were tons of glitches.

We got here and there was no way to turn of the air conditioners that were on full blast. Forgive me mother nature, but we had to sleep with the doors open (screens closed of course). No one warned me about the daily spray for mosquito and insects so woke up choking on fumes because of the open doors. Then there’s the dust…expected because we are occupying a construction zone. Phone and internet were not working, but they were working on it. There was (still isn’t) enough ice to take an ice bath. But a cool bath was still refreshing. There was a three day wait for massage because thee was only one therapist. I clean my room myself because I feel terrible seeing the woman as old as my grand mother on her knees wiping my floor. Judging from the other rooms, the younger cleaners weren’t up to the task anyways. There was a running joke that they were just redistributing muck instead of cleaning. I have heard stories about drivers leaving people stranded, apparently the 300rupees- about $7US- they’re (rumored) being paid wasn’t worth the complaining and harsh words. I’ve stood there in awe as one team leader (hint: manager from a team other than Guyana but stayed fairly close tom our building) ripped a volunteer a new orifice. On a visit to a local temple, I was push so hard I almost fell. I turned around and saw a man glaring at me. I thought ‘hatred…anger….displacement’.

It seems like a lot, but on the grand scheme of things it really isn’t. When putting on something of this scale, there will be no way to make everyone happy. I think what makes this different from other Games is that this one is littered with politics and conflicting interests by various groups.

Next episode: “Why I won’t suck popsicles in public anymore”

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4 Responses to “It may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not (published days after it was written)”

  1. Andrew Harry October 7, 2010 at 7:41 AM #

    Can’t wait for the next topic. I think I have an idea why, you were ‘stalked’.
    All these big cities cover up their dirty linen when they throw these big games. I remember in Atlanta 96, they got rid of all the homeless and loiterers until the end of the games. What we ended up seeing was a facade, but what could we have done? Nada!
    I’ve heard that outside of the Games village in New Delhi, the city reeks of poverty. From what I am seeing though via internet, it looks great. I love what I see.

  2. shelly October 7, 2010 at 9:54 AM #

    Aliann best wishes for a great race and a safe return. Enjoy!!!

  3. TG October 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM #

    It was a really great read, l love how you write!! really like the honesty – the good with the bad, not evrybody r always open to both sides its ether ur anti or pro!!

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