Miss, no place for your lipstick

Talented Mr. Daley... 16-year-old diving sensation Tom Daley from England is a man of many interests and skills. Apart from executing some winning somersaults with gravity-defying mid-air twists and twirls, he also plans to complete his a-level photography project, 'Urban'. during this games.-AP

The ladies were left red-faced, with no embellishments to add to their charm before that one-minute date with chiselled athletes. But Delhi Police had no sympathy whatsoever. Over to Stan Ryan.

The security at the Commonwealth Games has been a major topic of discussion, right from the start. Everyone was harassed, from the Organising Committee (OC) officials to technical officers; from foreign delegates to workforce; from the members of the media to the common man. While no one would have grudged the measures taken to ensure the safety of the athletes and officials, some of the items that the police ruled as prohibited made one wonder whether this had anything to do with “foolproof security”.

Umbrellas were banned as they could be brandished in hand-to-hand combats; monopods and tripods (solid steel) of photographers were, however, given a free run. Coins were banned since you could toss them from the stands and hurt the athletes.

More importantly, though, the ladies were miffed as lipsticks and compacts were confiscated too. Even god would have found if hard to figure out the combined hostile capabilities of the two in the hand of pretty mercenaries, but Delhi Police had their own unknown logic behind it.

In certain cases, we (scribes) too bore their brunt. Pens (integral to any lay reporter's backpack) were persona non grata and on the opening day even remote keys to cars were added to the list of “devious weapons”. The laptops fortunately were classified as shields (to protect our evil heads during those hand-to-hand combats) and we managed to take them in. In hindsight we hope, the security head didn't make an error of judgement there, as it can double up as a mean club.

Food not too good

The Delhi Police ‘bandobast' had also left many of the technical officials and volunteers with an half-empty or foul stomach, as most were forced to live on stale food at the venues. “We had to eat stale food since otherwise we had to starve. We couldn't even bring in our own food because of security restrictions,” said an official.

“Why should you fix the longest route to the press box when a shorter route was easily available?” a scribe asked a foreign expert dealing with media operations. “Security,” came the prompt reply.

Mercifully, the gate was changed the next day for a much closer entry.

Birthday without a cake

Duane Louis' birthday at the Games Village. Cakes, like any other food item, were stopped at the stern security's doorstep. But birthdays have to be celebrated and Louis, a sports administration student from Canada and a member of the Games' technical support team, is a popular chap in his squad. Quickly and quietly, his colleagues arranged a few biscuits on a tissue paper and fixed a flag in the middle. Louis was surprised as he entered and blew off the imaginary candles dramatically after which all hell broke loose as everybody wanted a piece of the birthday boy in absence of the cake.

A jack of all trades

Apart from executing some winning somersaults with gravity-defying mid-air twists and twirls, England's diving sensation Tom Daley also plans to complete his A-Level photography project, ‘Urban', during this Games.

Afternoon siesta… India's table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal would perhaps have fancied these usually empty stands than howling spectators.-PTI

The World champion in 10-metre platform diving has a wide range of interests, and maths and Spanish are some of the subjects of his affection. But photography and videography are two things he loves. “The Infinity pool in Singapore is one of my favourite locations,” says the 16-year-old. The 150-metre pool overlooking the sea on the 55th floor is located at the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel, one of the most expensive in today's world.

But unfortunately for him, he wouldn't be going out much in Delhi. “Apart from a few shots at the airport, I haven't used my camera at all here. I won't be going out much due to the schedules…and then I fly back home immediately,” says Daley.

Who let the dogs out?

The empty seats at many venues have been a cause for concern for the organisers as well as the performing stars. But, sometimes, crowds can be quite annoying too, as India's top paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal realised during a team game against Shane Overmeyer of South Africa.

With folded hands, he asked the fans rooting for him to calm down. The gritty and talented Overmeyer had won a close third game but Sharath recovered eventually and won the contest. “They think this is a movie hall… the referee should have said ‘silence'. Anyway, I think we have to live with it,” said the Indian.

Surprisingly, Overmeyer had nothing to complain. “I didn't bother about it. The fans cheered for me too,” he said with an evil grin.

Beware of Meares sisters

Cycling's 500m time trial is virtually a family affair for the Meares. Australian Anna Meares, cycling's golden girl at the Games, retained her title in this event in Delhi with a record to boot and recalled her sister (Kerry) winning it in Manchester in 2002. “It has been there in our family for the last three Commonwealth Games,” Anna said with pride. Unlike many riders who withdrew from the Games because of security concerns, Anna decided to come since she saw them as smaller issues compared to her primary task of competing in a mega event.

No homesickness

Athletes are often known to lead lonely lives. However, some are fortunate to have their family members accompanying them to international meets. In wrestling, one found at least two couples who did not miss their families. England's Jo and her husband Sasha Madyarchyk and the Canadian couple Jessica and Evan Macdonald.

Jo (51 kg), from Manchester, is an eight-time British champion as well as a qualified international wrestling federation (FILA) referee. The 25-year-old, a county welfare officer back home, is married to Ukraine-born Sasha, the reigning British champion in the 60 kg freestyle.

The 29-year-old Evan (74 kg freestyle), from Ottawa, is a former Canadian National champion and a winner of several international medals.

His 25-year-old wife Jessica is also an accomplished wrestler. The two duos are sure to make the most of their stay in a refurbished, swanky Delhi, looking as great as ever.

With inputs from K.P. Mohan, K. Keerthivasan and Y.B. Sarangi