Davids hoping for their time under the sun

Commonwealth Games: Smaller nations have but modest targets as they soak in the atmosphere

Davids hoping for their time under the sun

We are speaking about a set of participants in the Commonwealth Games who are making up the numbers, but doing so with unbridled enthusiasm and unyielding spirit.
Norfolk Islands, Samoa, Cook Islands and Falkland Islands are some of the nations approaching the Games as a chance to give their athletes more exposure and a feel of different conditions. They also want to use the occasion as a study tour to improve sporting infrastructure back home.

“Aren’t we the eternal hopefuls?” asked Tim Sheridan, coach of the Norfolk Islands’ lawn bowls team, with a huge grin while roaming around the Games Village. “For us, this is a learning experience, more than anything else. We will get a chance to see some really international class athletes and competition here,” Sheridan said.

“The facilities here are really world-class. It’s too much for us to hope for anything like this back home,” he noted, before adding with a booming laugh, “Probably, we don’t have this much space to spare in our little Island with a sparse population of 2100.”

Commonwealth Games Cook Islands president Sir Geoffrey Henry too had a similar story to tell. “This Games is like a periscope to us. A chance to view how an event of this proportion can be conducted. A chance to put our athletes against some top names and see how they fare. But we trust the ability of youth,” Henry said.

The constant criticism against the residential blocks in the Games Village has not affected his team, asserted Henry. “We don’t care if the lifts are not working here. We can climb two or three floors, after all we are all athletes, right? I guess it’s nothing to complain about, looks a bit childish,” he said.

John Iteti, chef de mission of the Falkland Islands, also rated the quadrennial mega show as a chance to interact with the top names in sporting world as well as compete against some of them.

“We don’t get many chances to participate in world-class events. The Commonwealth Games is perhaps one of our biggest chances to interact with sportspersons from across the globe. Many of our athletes were eager to come to CWG because they wanted to see Usain Bolt. But unfortunately, he is not coming here,” Iteti said.

However, the Samoan squad has different ideas. They will be hosting the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2015 and the islanders want to learn from their experience in Delhi.

“We too have 71 countries coming in for the Youth Games and we want to set in motion the process of preparation at the earliest. We are in talks with the Delhi authorities as how to prepare stadias and the Village as we want to avoid the last-minute rush,” said Seb Taylor, chef de mission of Samoa.

“We have good venues back home, including a few cricket grounds. Ross Taylor is a star there. We are hoping to attract some top athletes and officials to Samoa, hopefully we can convince them during this CWG to pay a visit to our country. If we can grab a few medals here, then we can strongly present our case,” Taylor said.

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