Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Guests Busy in Exploring Games Village

Even as the political and bureaucratic brass of the country scrambled to get the Delhi Games back on track on Friday, athletes living in the Commonwealth Games Village were busy discovering the Village. Sources said the day was spent by the 300-odd athletes and delegates living there many of whom had arrived only on Thursday mostly exploring the international zone in the Village as well as the training facility.

Said an official, ‘‘While most of the athletes who had come from abroad were familiarizing themselves with the rooms and getting over jetlag, the Indian contingent settled in and explored the Village area.’’ With the athletes expected to finish the DRM (delegation registration meeting) as they arrive, there was a lot of movement within the residential zone as well. Added the official, ‘‘The massive housekeeping and cleaning exercise that is going on is confined to some of the towers. The athletes who are living in the Village kept away and preferred to explore the training facility and the nearby pool instead.’’ No one, however, used the pool, though some tried out the gymnasium equipment, added officials.

Predictably, the maximum movement was in the international zone, which also has the kitchen. Ajay Grover, consultant (catering) of the OC, said the kitchen, which has been operational for some days now, cooked over 5,000 meals on Friday. These included 4,200 meals for the workforce. Added Grover, ‘‘While breakfast didn’t see a lot of athletes venture out, the lunch was served to around 300 athletes and delegates.’’

Added Jimmy Shue, one of the specialty chefs brought to Delhi specially for the Games by Delaware North, the caterers, ‘‘The kitchen has now become operational 24 hours. Athletes can walk in any time for food.’’ Shue, who said the work in the international zone had been on schedule for some days now, is a Commonwealth Games veteran and was a part of the Melbourne Games as well.

Friday’s lunch menu included not only the Indian spread but also a range of dishes from other Asian countries as well as Continental and African food. Since a majority of the athletes in the Village are from the Indian team, the local food was a hit, added Grover. Dishes like paneer makhana masala, aloo palak, pindi chhole, meen moily and Goa fish curry were in great demand even as the athletes from other countries like Australia, Malaysia, Kenya, Nigeria and elsewhere enjoyed dishes like Hungarian-styled stew, slow cooked goat, grilled sole steak, Jolliff rice (an African specialty) and prawn cutlets.