The London Olympic Games Village at Stratford is slowly coming to life with the arrival of athletes of various countries in a slow trickle throughout the day. Keeping pace with the arrivals is the finishing touch being given by the workforce personnel and construction workers who are working round the clock to ensure completion of all projects inside the Games Village before the Opening Ceremony on 27 July 2012.
Shooter Joydeep Karmarkar joined his compatriots Abhinav Bindra , Manavjit Sandhu and Ronjan Sodhi who had already arrived yesterday. They have all settled down well and they are awaiting their additional guns and equipment which are expected in the next two days. Meanwhile the Archery Team (Men & Women) had a full day’s workout and training session at the Lords Cricket Ground from early morning till late in the afternoon. The Archery event starts on 27th July morning even before the Opening Ceremony commences at night. Tarundeep Rai when asked about his first impression of the Olympic Games Village was all praise for the accommodation and all arrangements including food and beverages being provided at the Games Village Dining Hall.
As the Dy Chef de Mission I felt that it was my duty to go the Olympic Rowing Village at the Royal Holloway and enquire about the Indian Rowing Team which had arrived last night in the Air India Flight from Delhi. As the distance was over 60 miles from the Olympic Games Village at Stratford, it took slightly over two hours to reach there. The Royal Holloway is a constituent College of the University of London and it was founded in 1879 by the Victorian Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Thomas Holloway. This was earlier a Women only College and was officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1886. So the Olympic Rowers (Men & Women) participating in London Olympics are staying in the Hostel accommodation of Royal Holloway College and the ambience is wonderful. After having had a guided tour of the facilities at the Royal Holloway, I went to the Eton Dorney Rowing Course where the Indian Rowing Team were waiting for their turn to start their training sessions.
The Indian Team has 3 Rowers ie. Swarn Singh Virk in the Single Sculls and Sandeep Kumar and Manjeet Singh in the Lightweight Double Sculls. The Rowing Contingent has hired Fillipi Boats which are of Italian make and are considered to be one of the best in the World and brought necessary oars with them from India. Although Coach Ismail Baig and his team of 3 Rowers are quite happy with the arrangements being provided by LOCOG, they still have a crib that they do not get the feeling or atmosphere as prevalent in an Olympic Games Village. Ismail feels that this resembles a normal World Championship only. So he is planning to bring his 3 wards to come and see the Olympic Games Village so that they are relaxed and enjoy themselves before participation in the Rowing events at Rowing village. A couple photographs of Rowers at the Eton Dorney Rowing Course and those of Archers and Shooters at the Olympic Games Village are also attached.