Well it was the Women's first full day in Delhi yesterday. We took a nice break from the mats, and explored our new home for the next week, the Commonwealth Village. I must admit I was more than a little curious to see first hand what the set up would be like here, and if indeed all the bad press is/was warranted. Team Canada is situated in two large building towards the back side of the village, at first I was worried to hear that, as the main dining hall, transportation complex, training venues, and international zone are at the front entrance. To my pleasant surprise it is a straight 5 minute walk down the middle walk way in the village. It is not near as large or spread out as the villages in Athens or Beijing. It feels very comparable to what we have experienced in Rio, Santo Domingo, and even Winnipeg for the Pan Am Games. Thus far I have been very inpressed with the volunteers, and the experience in general. People have been at times a little slow to respond, and at times very disorganized (I couldn't help but laugh at least a few times at the wrestling venue yesterday). In general the demeanor of the staff and volunteers has been pleasant and courteous.
Okay, I am sure you wanna here a bit about this highly publicized village. As I said Team Canada is in building 17 & 18. Building 17 has been transfomed in to our main opperations hub. The second floor has a medical clinic where a core group of practitioners from doctors, to physios, to Massage therapists call home. Surinder Budwal who works extensively with our Wrestling program is part of the staff their. He has been working shifts in the clinic, but now that wrestling has started we have scooped him back with our team. We also have Rick Tkach who worked with us for almost a decade now. Rick came to Abu Dabhi as a massage therapist for our team. He is also set up in our Apartment doing massage and treatments to ensure athletes are recovered and fresh going into the competition. Also in building 17 in an atletes lounge, a coaches lounge, communication and support staff centre hub, a recovery area with Hot tub (inflatable), and last but not least our team Canada Clothing centre. All our girls went and picked up the remaining "HBC gear" that we had not yet received prior to arriving in Delhi. We need to look good, competing, training, and yes of course hopfully on the podium.
We are situated as a team in building 18 on the third floor of our building. The condo's have five bedrooms and a number of washrooms in each. They have now been cleaned adequately, yet I wouldn't say they sparkle by any stretch, however not too bad (we have been in many places in our travels, Canada has a comfort standard that few countries can match). Yesterday I spoke to one of the heads of OTP, and a good friend, he said his first five days here were spent cleaning out bathrooms all day long. So thanks so much to all those Canadian Support staff who went over and above the call of duty to ensure that our rooms are clean! Each condo has a little kitchen and a living area with tv and a couple couches. Not bad at all, and again fairly typical asto what we are used to and expect. Surinder said all of the apartments in the Village have been pre sold following the games and the units are drawing a pretty penny, by Indian standards.
As for the village in general. The main food hall is large (quite good), again fairly standard there are food stands with indian food, pasta, african food, and asian food, as well as the good old "western food" area. I ate breakfast in the main dining centre yesterday. Lunch and dinner were at the smaller "casual dinning centre" literally a stones throw from our building. There is and outside patio next to a pool (no swimmers), which has been really nice to enjoy. It is hot here, yet I think Abu Dhabi was hotter and helped toughen us up to be ready for the heat. The selection in the casual dining centre is much more limited when compared to the main centre, yet both meals were excellent. I must admit my good friend in Calgary has developed a real love of indian food for myself, and I have had two delicious indian meals yesterday.
The international zone is quite nice with a large outdoor stage, with entertainment in the evenings. It is essentially a small town with all the necessities. Bank, general store, sovenier stores, hair dresser, post office, disco, small pub (closes at 11pm), etc... I went down to the international zone with our med staff and Donny Ryan last night to celebrate Eric's Bronze medal at 96kg in Greco for about an hour. It was nice, lots of support staff for many countries mingeling and relaxing after their busy days. Next to the International zone is a really great training complex. it has an outdoor track stadium, gynsasiaum, a wrestling area with four international sized mats, a large fitness facility, a large ourdoor poor (shaded with a cool tarped structure) one pool for leisure, one pool for training! This part of the village is as good or better than most of the other vilages I have been to. I went for a workout last night as I kept an eye on our four girls who will be weighing in today. Carol, Jill, Justine, and Ohenewa weigh in today at 4pm.
I went over to the evenings Greco session to watch Eric compete in his repachage and Bronze medal match. I thought he had a good tournament and competed hard. The drive over to the competition site was quite painless, about 15-20minutes. As with Beijing they have created special lanes for all the games transportation vehicles, we also had a police escort. This kept things moving nicely. Without these... (I kinda shutter to think how bad it could be). The evening setting had no shortage of drama. Eric was ultimately penalized in the second and deciding round with a caution and point against the South African athlete to decide the bronze medal. They were wrestling hard and banged heads a few times, Eric in this instance ended up being penalized for the contact. In the final match at 96kg the Indian and Austrailian athlete had a real slug fest! The Austrailian (a former Egytian wrestler) was kicked out of the match after he made a gester to the cheering indian fans. Sport can be interesting sometimes to say the least, his removal ended up not only being from the match, but also the tournament. So in the end, Eric got to put on his Team Canada Podium gear afterall. A reward for a days hard work. The Indian team dominated the day, and appear to have started off the wrestling tournament the way they wanted. With three of three gold medals. I read an article yesterday about how hard the indians have prepared and emphasized the games at home in Delhi. They are hoping to secure a large amount of medals. I am hoping to spoil there plans (at least) for the top of the podium.
Okay I have rambled on quite a while... I woke up at 4 am and was wired. I walked next door to our building and got on the computers in the residence centre here. Today Jack and Promise compete in Greco, I will go over to help Don Ryan as needed. Wish them luck....
I am also excited for our women to tip the scales today and get ready for tomorrows action...
My appoligies if my Blog is a little confusing at times, and appears to be one big run on sentence. Its a skill i learned from Mike Jones. ha ha
By for now from Dehli...