Delhi Diary #3

After all of the ‘challenges’ and stories from my first few days in Delhi things have calmed down a little and we’re concentrating on the sport, although there is always something that makes you laugh.

The latest that got me was one my Commonwealth Games England (CGE) colleagues bartering for printer paper in the media centre.  Having spent a week practising his negotiating skills with Tuk Tuk drivers, it all paid off when he asked one of the usually incredibly helpful and always friendly volunteers for more paper to put into the printer.  With so many matches/ties/bouts across 17 sports each day he likes to be able to print the odd schedule off.  One this occasion with the paper out he asked for more. 

“Sorry sir,” was the response.  “I can’t give you more paper because these are the green Games and too many people have been printing.”

 [note: there are pigeon holes for each and every sport which the back of house team here fill throughout the day with often unused printed copies of ‘flash quotes’, the quotes that appear on the online system after someone has competed]

“Err, right. Ok then. Well, there’s a printer here, for our use, and I really would appreciate it if I can print off some pages.”

“I can give you two pieces”

“Ten!”

“Five.”

“Deal”

Main Press Centre at the Commonwealth Games in DelhiHaving sat on the other side so to speak in my role here as a ‘journalist’ for CGE, I think the experience should help when it comes to next running the media centre at an England Hockey tournament or event.  It’s the little things that frustrate or delight and usually they aren’t too difficult to put right.

So, to hockey.  It’s been quite a day here in Delhi from a hockey point of view.

Firstly, England’s men made it through to the semi finals with a 2-1 win over South Africa, memorable in particular because James Tindall scored his 50th goal for England.  One of the TV commentators said to me yesterday when I told him James was on 49 and would probably get 50 by tournament end, “Gary Lineker got 49 and didn’t get 50” or something to that effect.  Well, I always reckoned ‘Tinds’ would bag his 50th in Delhi, it was just a case of when.  The winning goal to secure a semi final berth is probably as good a time as any, although I’m sure he’ll want number 51 against India on Tuesday.

After England’s win, New Zealand played Canada and found themselves still 1-0 down from a first half goal with about five minutes to go.  They opted then to remove the goalkeeper and replace him with an 11th outfield player. The Blacksticks duly equalised in the final five minutes for a 1-1 draw.  I must make clear I didn’t see this – I was on a bus back from the stadium to the media centre, where I have since covered boxing, table tennis and weightlifting while keeping more than half an eye on India v Pakistan.

View from the stand at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium in Delhi, IndiaEveryone said it would be a cracker and it really was!  7-4. Or as incorrectly Tweeted, 7-3.  It actually was 7-4 as several people pointed out but you have to forgive me for blinking and missing a goal.  It was the type of frenzied hockey I expected and it didn’t disappoint.  Now England’s guys are going into the cauldron to face India on Tuesday night (lunchtime, 1pm, in the UK).  I’m thoroughly looking forward to it and I’ll just be in the stand.  Goodness knows how the guys are feeling. 

In case you're interested, here's a picture of the view from my seat in the stand.  It'll be a lot fuller and darker when England play India and I'll have to fight much, much harder for my seat and desk.

Before all of that, the women have Australia in their semi final.  By the time you read this it’ll probably have been played so I won’t say too much but suffice to say, on their day England’s women can beat anyone as we saw this summer in the Champions Trophy and World Cup. 

What else has been going on here?  Well, England passed the 100 medals total today in Delhi.  The 100th English medal of the games was won by the men’s triples lawn bowls team who by all accounts have thoroughly deserved it after a strong showing throughout.  There are five English boxers through to the semi finals of the various weight divisions.  In boxing, even if you lose the semi final you get a bronze medal.  There’s no bronze medal fight.  I was told today that it’s because you couldn’t ask a boxer to fight for bronze after they’ve just lost the semi final, which seems strange if you think about most other sports and the England Hockey women’s fantastic response to losing the World Cup semi final on penalty strokes.  And we have just four more days of competition left here in Delhi before Thursday’s closing ceremony.

If you haven't followed the other sports then check out the We Are England website.  It's a very easy read (I've written some of the news so it must be!) and is a great way to get all your Commonwealth Games news from the England team in one place.

There was a great piece in the Observer today and on the Guardian online about Crista Cullen and her brother Gray.  While Crista is an international hockey player for England and GB, her big bro is out here in Delhi representing Kenya.  It’s a cracking tale and well worth a read.

While I’m here I might as well remind people we always want to hear your comments, where positive, ‘constructive’ or simply a suggestion.  Why not email the EHB’s magazine, Hockey News, with your comments about the Commonwealth Games (How do you think the teams have done? What have you liked about the EHB’s online Games coverage? Or disliked? What would you like to see in future? What do you think of the TV coverage?) or any other comments, queries or suggestions you might have and wish to share with us and the hockey family.  Email magazine@englandhockey.org or Tweet us @EnglandHockey.