Tag Archives: Commonwealth Games

G4S seek redemption with 2014 Commonwealth Games bid

G4S bid for Glasgow 2014 spot. Photograph: David Davies/PA

By Jonathan C. H. Davis

G4S have staged a bid to be part of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year to avenge their humiliation at last summer’s London 2012 Olympics.

The private security company, solely responsible for Games Security at London 2012, had to pay £70m in compensation to organising committee Locog after 3,500 soldiers were drafted in for the event. This followed G4S’s admission two weeks before the opening ceremony that they were not able to provide enough guards.

Glasgow 2014 organisers have already put strategies in place to safe guard against a repeat of what happened in London by divide up the contracts between a number of security firms.

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said “We are working to support Police Scotland, who have responsibility for Games security, to deliver a safe and secure Commonwealth Games next summer.

“Learning from previous Games, we have offered opportunities to a wide range of compliant providers from the private security industry to contribute to delivering a safe and enjoyable Games experience for athletes, officials and spectators.

“Companies will be considered on their merits and assessed in line with detailed tendering requirements and procedures. No appointments have been made.”

Glasgow 2014’s organisers are offering two aspects of event security to private companies – safety stewarding and security guarding – with G4S preparing a bid for the former.

A G4S spokesperson said, “As the existing provider of stewarding services at a number of Games venues, we are participating in the process to be included in the framework to continue to provide these services during the Games.

“We already work for Hampden Park, Ibrox Stadium, and the new Hydro Arena, and have unrivalled experience at major events such as ‘T in the Park’ and ‘RockNess'”

The announcement has already come under heavy scrutiny, with Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz stating, “I am astonished that G4S has the nerve to apply for this contract. This is the company whose poor management nearly wrecked the greatest Olympics of modern times and led us to call in the troops.”

Despite these comments,  the security company, are confident they are well placed to bid for Glasgow2014’s security contracts, stating “G4S is one of the largest employers in Scotland with around 5,000 people working to provide services across the country.”

Chris Hoy Retires From International Cycling

By Steven Robson

Chris Hoy announces retirement in Edinburgh.
Chris Hoy announces retirement in Edinburgh.

Britain’s most decorated Olympian has today announced his decision to retire from international cycling.

Sir Chris Hoy, 37, had a very successful 2012, after winning his fifth and sixth Olympic gold medals in the team sprint and keirin events. He also set the Olympic record in London for the 750 metres team sprint by managing a time of 42.600 seconds.

The Edinburgh-born athlete had hoped to compete for Scotland in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, but said his fitness would not allow it.

Speaking to the country’s media at Murrayfield stadium, Hoy said: “Nothing would have given me more pleasure than to have been at Glasgow 2014, but I don’t want to make up the numbers.

“It’s a hard time – one moment at the end of your career when you have to say enough is enough.”

Hoy does not believe, however, that his decision will hinder Scotland’s medal chances in Glasgow: “It’s not as if it’s a one man band. I’ve had my time in the sun, it’s time to let other athletes have their share. It will be a successful Commonwealth Games.”

Speaking of what the future might hold, the six-time Olympic Champion said that he would become an advisor to both the Scottish cycling team and the Scottish Rugby Union, as well as charity work, but quashed speculation that he may take on a great outdoor cycle route: “I’m not going to be cycling around the world.”

Asked what he thought his greatest career moment had been, he said: “To stand on the podium in Athens and to hear your name followed by Olympic Champion – that is what it is all about. But to cap it all off with my sixth gold medal – that was a special day too.”

Hoy said he would still be based in Manchester but would not rule out moving back to Edinburgh at some stage; he added: “I am going to cycle for the rest of my life, and I look forward to getting others to do that too.”

Hoy’s wife Sarra summed up the mood: “It is very emotional, but it is good to come out in the open and announce it.”

Scots Shooters Aim For Medals

By Lindsay Muir.

Team Scotland hot shots are hoping to bag a brace of medals in the Men’s and Women’s Trap Pairs clay shooting event in todays action in Dehli at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Scotland have fielded a strong partnership in the men’s event with 2006 Melbourne games veteran Ossie McLean paired with Commonwealth games first timer John McDonald.  McDonald, 31, of Acharacle on the Moidart peninsula, Lochaber is ranked as Scotland and Britain’s number one trap shooter after becoming the first Scot to win the prestigious British Shooting Grand Prix in 50 years. Sir Jackie Stewart brought home the title in 1960 in the years before becoming three times Formula One World Champion; hitting 121 out of 125 target on his way to victory. Stewart famously missed out on the chance to represent Britain at the olympic games following that victory, but there are high hopes that the duo of McDonald and McLean can fire their way to victory in todays finals. The face tough competition from their Englsih couterparts Steve Scott and Stevan Walton who clinched gold in the Double Trap Pairs event on Wednesday.

In the women’s Trap Pair’s Alford, Aberdeenshire’s Shona Marshall teams up with Sheffield’s Linda Pearson and are aiming to win Scotland’s first ever medal in the womens event. Both competitors have a strong pedigree with Shona Marshall also having represented Scotland in her discipline at the 2006 Commonwealth games in Melbourne.

Chairman of the Scottish Clay Target Association Tony Lithgow is cofident that the Scottish pairs can bring home medals adding that, “Ossie [McLean] and McDonald have a great chance of sucess in the team event.”

More information on Clay Target Shooting in your area can be found here at the Scottish Clay Target Association website. You can follow all the Commonwealth games action live on the BBC.

Mixed Fortunes for Scots in Delhi

The Saltire flies in Delhi

by Tony Garner

There were mixed fortunes for Scottish competitors on Day three of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.  In the aquatics centre the highlight was a silver medal from the men’s 4 x 200m freestyle team, with Robbie Renwick anchoring the team home superbly to add to his gold in the individual event.

However there was disappointment for other Scottish finalists, with Hannah Miley missing out on a medal in the final of the women’s 200m breaststroke, while in the men’s 100m breaststroke, Edinburgh swimmers Michael Jamieson and Kris Gilchrist were also unable to add to the Scottish total, which now stands at 1 gold, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes.

Day 3 of the Games produced the other of those silvers, and the first non-swimming medal for the team, as cyclists Jenny Davis and Charline Joiner finished just behind the Australian duo in the pairs sprint.

At this rate Scotland will have to up the stakes if they are to come close to matching the impressive tally of 29 medals, including 11 gold, which they gained in Melbourne four years ago

Commonwealth Games running out of goodwill

A worker wheels away mud from the tracks at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Image: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

By Ray Philp

A catalogue of PR gaffes and logistical crises continue to affect the reputation of the Commonwealth Games. Organisers in Delhi have completed preparations for the running track only hours before athletes were due to take part in the Games’ first running event.

Concern for the viability of the Games have increased after a series of damning revelations were published including the collapse of a footbridge and an athlete’s village deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’ by the Scotland team.  There are also a myriad of safety concerns prompting many competing teams, including Scotland, to threaten to pull out of the event.

Attendances remain poor on the third day of the Games, and today Chief Organiser Suresh Kalmadi is seeking to assuage concerns: “We sold 50,000 tickets yesterday and have got good response for hockey, tennis, swimming and athletics.”

Significant transport issues have been highlighted by a leaked internal report published by the Indian Express. The report indicates that some bus drivers were demonstrably unfamiliar with routes to Games venues, taking up to 3 hours to travel to venues that would normally take 30 minutes to reach, with some drivers not reaching their destinations at all. Drivers have also threatened to stage walkouts, citing ‘poor catering and depot facilities’.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell acknowledged the issues: “it has been a big complaint that some drivers are not familiar with the roads and people are spending a lot of time in cars and the athletes complained about difficulty to get to the competition venues.” Kalmadi added that “the last issue [transport] would be addressed tomorrow.”

Robbie Renwick collected Scotland’s first gold medal of the Games in the 200m freestyle yesterday, while shooters Jen McIntosh and Kay Copland settled for bronze after missing out on silver by one point in the 50m 3P Pairs. David Carry had claimed Scotland’s first medal on Tuesday, emerging with bronze in the 400m freestyle.

Sports round up

By Steven Speirs

Europe have regained the Ryder Cup from the USA after a dramatic last match victory today at Celtic Manor, Wales.

Due to poor weather on the opening day, the final day singles matches had to be played on a Monday for the first time in the events 83 year history. There was no less enthusiasm from the 35,000 strong crowd who roared Europe on to victory.

US Open champion Graeme McDowell defeated Hunter Mahan 3&1 to secure the final point for Europe, giving them a 14 1/2-13 1/2 victory. Captain Colin Montgomerie, one of the most popular players in Ryder Cup history, was too nervous to watch as McDowell hit a chip shot onto the 17th greeen that helped seal the victory and what is perhaps the finest hour of Monty’s career.

Montgomerie, 48, has won a record 8 European order of merit titles, and is involved in golf course design, designing several courses, including the Rowallan Castle golf Course. Niall Campbell, managing director of Rowallan Castle, expects the course to benefit from Monty’s triumph, saying “there’s already been a lot of interest in the course [before the Ryder Cup] and even a couple of journalists from the states have been in contact to learn about the course”.

In Football, Hearts are expected to be handed out a punishment from the Scottish Premier League after assistant referee William Conquer was struck by a missile thrown from the main stand at Tynecastle. The SPL are waiting to receive the match report from referee Willie McDougall before deciding what type of punishment the club will receive.

Meanwhile, the Scotland national team have received a boost after it was revealed that Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has pulled out of the Spain squad for the upcoming qualifiers against Scotland and Lithuania.

The Commonwealth games are underway today, with the England team already having won two silver medals in Swimming and Gymnastics. Scotland have yet to win a medal, however the women’s hockey team team earned a surprise draw with host nation India.

Are the Commonwealth Games just too common?

By Edmund Brown

Seven years ago, Delhi was awarded the honour of hosting the Commonwealth Games, a task that seems to have been one hurdle too many for them. With athletes pulling out of this once prestigious event it begs to question the value the games have on the world.

With thousands of athletes making their way to India for the opening ceremony there is more focus on the top athletes that are not turning up. The likes of cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton and gymnasts Louis Smith and Beth Tweddle have all pulled out stating that they cannot compete in a competition so close to the European Championships. So why is it that the Commonwealth Games is playing second fiddle to another event? What makes the European Championships that much better to compete in for athletes than that of representing your country at the Commonwealth Games?

Scottish team leaving for Delhi

The answer is points.

The points picked up in the European Championships go towards securing a place at the Olympics, the pinnacle event in an athletes career, whereas the Commonwealth Games means no more than being the best at your event within the realms of the old British Empire. So is this more likely to be the reason for athletes pulling out rather than the excuses of India not providing suitable facilities?

No one can deny that India has had its problems. With walkways collapsing, rooms not adequate for occupation and snakes being found within the athletes village, competitors have the excuses to hand not to turn up. Whatever the reasons for the withdrawals, the competition for medals will be weaker as a result.

And yet there is so many athletes who do want to represent their country at the highest level. Angus Killean represented Great Britain at the recent ITU duathlon championships held in Edinburgh and he feels the Commonwealth Games is the best event for up and coming athletes.

“The Commonwealth Games should be seen as the best event especially with it coming to Glasgow in 4 years time. It needs to be the top event of an athletes calender. As for these games starting on Sunday, its a shame that some athletes have decided not to go as it takes the competitiveness away from the event. It also takes away the importance of the event although I am sure they have their own reasons for not going.”

And perhaps the event will take place without a hitch or perhaps it will be a long jump right into the sandpit. With pavements still being laid and trees still being planted, with rubble surrounding the stadiums and final fittings being made to accommodation it makes you believe these games are going to fail.

The talents of some of the world class athletes will hopefully shine through and save the day for India and the Commonwealth Games, turning these disaster stricken games into an event to remember.

Scottish Sport To Benefit From Commonwealth Games Legacy

Glasgow's new £18m Athletics Stadium built for the Commonwealth Games

By David Henderson

Scottish sport will benefit from Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games for decades to come, according to the Scottish Secretary.  

Jim Murphy was speaking on an inspection visit to Scotstoun Stadium which has been given an 18 million pounds makeover for the 2014 games. He said: “Scotstoun has a proud name in Scottish athletics but the improvements here make it fit for the international athletes who will train and compete here in less than five years. Scots will benefit from facilities built for the Commonwealth Games for decades to come.”

The Games organisers hope that the new Stadium will host the world’s fastest man; Usain Bolt could represent Jamaica in 2014.  Glasgow City Council also want locals to benefit from the facilities, Council leader Steven Purcell said: “This outstanding facility is testament to our commitment to provide a lasting legacy, not just for elite athletes but for all of our communities as we build a more active and healthy Scotland.”

The City Council invested 14 million pounds in Scotstoun, a further four million coming from sportscotland.