Commonwealth roundup: Fourth from fifth for finger

New Zealand might have grabbed 19 medals so far but at times it seemed the curse of the Comingfourth Games in Melbourne was coming back to haunt us. Four years ago, New Zealanders finished fourth 29 times.

This time, with 13 silver medals and just one gold going into yesterday's competition, it was possible to think that these might be dubbed the Silver Service Games.

But we have still racked up fourths in a wide range of circumstances. Swimmer Natalie Wiegersma missed by a fingertip in the women's 200m individual medley, while Sam Belkin was promoted from fifth in the Greco-Roman wrestling 96kg class after Australian Hassene Fkiri lost his temper and a certain medal midway through the final.

Fkiri was disqualified after raising his middle finger at the judges.

Daily Delhi disorder:

In a Commonwealth Games already famous for glitches, snafus and stuff-ups, the list of Delhi's daily disasters continues to grow. This week, little unplanned episodes included:

* The large scoreboard at the rugby sevens ground fell over, ker-plop. Witnesses said it was lucky there were not spectators around at the time.

Chance would be a fine thing. Spectators have been in short supply at Delhi venues.

* Games officials banned athletics starters from using the 'recall' gun to signal false starts. Instead, they had to use a gun that makes a much quieter bang. Athletes in one men's 100m heat failed to hear the recall and carried on to the finish. The race had to be rerun.

* Athletics judges got all bent out of shape and threatened to strike unless their transport arrangements improved. They were kept waiting for buses to take them to their hotels for four hours on the opening night of the athletics programme, with many not getting to bed until 2am before having to return to the stadium six hours later.

* Two constables were reprimanded after stealing a few moments of passion at the main stadium. The male and female constable were found by a senior officer in a room near their stationed gate. Police moved them to opposite ends of the stadium, 2km apart. According to reports, the incident was "being probed".

Coining a phrase:

A member of Sky's netball commentary team was apparently far from impressed when confronted with some cheerful daylight robbery on entry to the venue. Rupee coins - which are virtually worthless - are outlawed at some venues, meaning it is time to empty your pockets at the security gate and pour the offending metal into the nearby tin cans (which apparently go towards some local charity).

The commentator is understood to have got quite flustered before berating the woman official with a blast of "Merry f****** Christmas".

The next day the coinless commentator was greeted with a warm smile and a "Merry Christmas" by the same lady. It received a smile in return.


There were dozens of moments at the team gymnastics which made you feel like you had turned up to new entrants day at a school for stuntmen. Gymnasts were face planting off the high bar, swinging wildly on the rings, giving it a half somersault too many on the floor and landing on their tailbones from the vault. It begged the question: is gymnastics the sport with the widest chasm between Commonwealth and Olympic Games standard?

Spare a thought for Indian gymnast Rohit Jaiswal. He sprained his knee landing during the floor exercise - the home team's first discipline. Jaiswal was taken out on a stretcher but returned to complete four other apparatuses. He then sprained his knee again on the parallel bars. What seemed like a crowd of a couple of dozen in the 15,000 seat stadium gave him a hearty send-off.

Jolly Jamaican jeepers, Batman...

Usain Bolt finally has some competition, and it's in the entertaining form of fellow Jamaican Ramone McKenzie - aka Batman. Although Bolt pulled out of the Commonwealth Games, sprinting fans have enjoyed McKenzie's efforts in the 100m - as he likes to wear a Batman mask on his face, and a Superman ring on his left hand. "They call me the Batman," said the 19-year-old McKenzie, who finished his second round heat in 10.40s. "It was the idea of my little brothers, and I kind of liked it."

McKenzie still had the mask on for a TV interview after his first heat. "These sports are entertainment," said McKenzie, who admitted that Bolt's antics "sort of" inspired him to find a way to liven up the fans at the stadium.

"Just entertain any crowd." The Superman ring is also because of his brothers, or one of them anyway. "It's just something from my little brother. His middle name is Shaquille."

White men can't jump... but can make a splash

Kenyans were expected to be among the medal contenders of an athletics competition missing big names like sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell - but no one thought they'd take any in the pool.

Jason Dunford bucked those expectations with his victory in the men's 50m butterfly, his country's first Commonwealth Games swimming medal.

"I'm so happy, very excited, I almost cried with joy as our national anthem played when they were presenting the medal. I cannot believe it, I cannot believe it," said Dunford, a white Kenyan.

"I'm so proud of doing this for my country. I woke up feeling great today and I knew I had it, but when it happened, it still came as a surprise," Dunford said in Kiswahili.

Good week: Alison Shanks

Her second kilometre in the individual pursuit final was a thing of beauty. Down almost a second after the first kilometre, her explosive second demoralised her opposition and underlined her talent and gut.

Bad week: Dropkick Aussie TV commentators

"He'll finish over the top of this Kiwi kid, there's no doubt about it." He - Canadian Didier Bence, compared to Joe Frazier - then got a solid hiding from 18-year-old New Zealand super-heavyweight Joseph Parker, a great prospect for the future. He also chopped the Canadian down.

- Herald on Sunday

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