Commonwealth Games

The story of how an Asiad remade a city


India may not be a major sporting power, but as Indian athletes get ready for the Incheon Asian Games, few remember the central role the Asian Games have played in the remaking of Delhi. The Asian Games themselves were virtually invented by India as part of Nehru’s attempt to forge a new Asian solidarity and […..]

Glasgow shows Delhi’s false dawn


How does one benchmark a nation’s performance in an event that was never really meant to be super-competitive anyway? Most athletes in Glasgow who gave it their all to stand on the medals podium would disagree with any value judgments about the seriousness of the Commonwealth Games and they would be right. But they would […..]

Chasing A Dream

Is a successful London 2012 possible for India? Or will a sports culture remain an illusion with India not bothering to look beyond cricket and turning into a multi sporting nation? [Edited extracts from Nalin Mehta, Boria Majumdar, Olympics: The India Story, HarperCollins, 2012, 3rd edition, first published 2008] The foundation was laid at the […..]

London calling


The foundation was laid at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October 2010. With 101 medals, 38 of which were gold, and second place on the medals table displacing England for the first time in history, Indian Olympic sports made a statement to the world. Critics, however, attributed this to the relatively lower level of […..]

For a Monsoon Wedding: Delhi and the Commonwealth Games


INTRODUCTION EXTRACT Delhi’s Tihar Jail is reputed to be the largest prison in South Asia. Among its more famous inmates, at the time of writing, is Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the Organising Committee (OC) of the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, Member of Parliament from Pune and head of the Indian Olympic Association. He is being […..]


Back in the 1970s, Willie Whitelow, who later became Margaret Thatcher’s deputy prime minister, famously responded to a crisis in the then Labour government by tut-tutting to reporters: “Mustn’t gloat, wrong to gloat, mustn’t do it, no, no, no. Well, I can tell you, I am gloating like hell.” The parliamentary debate on the Commonwealth […..]


For those of us who are pained by the terrible politicisation of Indian sport, it’s lack of professional management and its permanent strangulation by power-brokers of the Kalmadi kind, recent events at FIFA, football’s governing body, are instructive. FIFA has been engulfed by two kinds of allegations: alleged bribery by Qatar in its successful winning […..]