CWG Diary: Day One

As Gold Coast gears up for the Commonwealth Games, Sportstar tracks down the talking points of the event.

A cyclist rides past Commonwealth Games banner on the side of the road in Gold Coast on Monday.   -  AP

From South Coast to Gold Coast

Well, it is only a natural question to pop up, what is in a name?

But the story here is this city which will host the XXI Commonwealth Games from Wednesday was originally known as South Coast before it was nicknamed as Gold Coast in around 1950.

The nickname mostly came about due to the inflated prices for real estate and other goods and services in the area which lies on the mouth of River Nerang.

The locals initially considered the name derogatory, but before long there was consensus, and the new name was adopted in 1958.

In 2007, Gold Coast emerged as the sixth largest city in Australia overtaking New South Wales in terms of population and today it also the largest non-capital city in the world’s smallest continent.

Little wonder then that the Australian Federal Government never looked back before lending its support to the bid put up by the city Gold City to host the Commonwealth Games and become the fifth Australian city to conduct the quadrennial extravaganza after Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006).

All eyes on Sally

There are quite a few sportspersons, hailing from this city, to have made it big in the world of sport. But what enthusiasts are keenly looking forward in the home stretch of the preparations for the XXI Commonwealth Games is the role to be played by World champion Sally Pearson on Wednesday night’s opening gala.

The 31-year-old gunning to defend her 100m hurdles title from New Delhi and Glasgow as the athletic competitions get underway on April 8 is reported to have been already sounded out for a prominent role in the Games’ opener. But what has kept her supporters guessing is whether she would be given the pride of place and asked to carry the Australian flag walking ahead of the home contingent which is pledged to regain the glory  of being the overall medal topper to England in Glasgow.

Several prominent Australian sports personalities like swimming legend Kieren Perkins, the Aussie flag-bearer at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, three-time Olympian, Tamsyn Lewis-Manou, Gian Rooney and Tatiana Grigorieva have come out openly in support of the local heroine seeking that she be given the ultimate honour considering the goodwill that such a gesture would be able to generate among the local populace.

And consequently, all eyes are now on the Australian team chef-de-mission, Steve Moneghetti, who himself last week itself had admitted that the local hurdler was a frontline contender for the honour.