Hosts get grip on gold medals


It was always important for us to do well on home ground. Abhinav Bindra, Indian shooterThe empty stadiums that have marred the first two days of competition at the crisis-hit Commonwealth Games may be filled by children and the underprivileged given free tickets if attendance doesn't improve.
After weeks of problems and delays in a wide range of areas in the buildup to the games, the sporting events are starting to grab some focus in New Delhi with hosts India winning five gold medals today and England winning their first two in the pool.
But the problems persisted outside of competition. Workers were rushing to relay turf on the infield and try to clean up Sunday's opening ceremony at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium so it's ready in time for the athletics programme to start tonight.
Against the background of bungling, many of the venues across the city remained nearly empty, prompting local organisers to admit they are considering giving away free tickets.
"We are working on the children from schools. Already steps are being taken in that direction," local organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said today.
The games have been plagued by construction delays, allegations of corruption and security worries, but with 18 gold medals awarded today and now 26 overall, much of the focus has now turned to sports.
India picked up two in shooting and three in Greco-Roman wrestling overnight, with Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang starting the rush with victory in the men's 10m air rifle pairs event.
"It was always important for us to do well on home ground," Bindra said. "It gives us a good start and hopefully, we will have many more medals in the coming days."
Ravindere Singh won the 64kg class in Greco-Roman wrestling, Sanjay claimed the 74kg gold and Anil Kumar won the 96kg event.

Singapore claimed two shooting gold medals when Swee Hon Lim and Bin Gai won the men's 50m pistol pairs event and Xiang Wei Jasmine and Aqilah Sudhir won the 50m rifle pairs.
In track cycling, Australia won the men's and women's time trial races and the men's pursuit. Olympic champion Anna Meares won the women's 500m time trial in 33.758 seconds, Scott Sunderland took the men's 1km time trial in 1:01.411.
Jack Bobridge won the 4000m individual pursuit.
England won their first two gold medals of the games in the swimming pool. Francesca Halsall beat world champion Marieke Guehrer of Australia in the women's 50m butterfly, and world champion Liam Tancock won the men's 50m backstroke.
Leiston Pickett gave Australia their fourth swimming gold by winning the women's 50m breaststroke and Robert Renwick won Scotland's first gold with a victory in the 200m freestyle.
Australia won the women's team gymnastics gold for the fourth time in a row and led the medal standings with nine gold medals and 23 overall.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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