British sports journalists planning to cover the Commonwealth Games, which get underway in Delhi next month, should double-check their ratecard bookings, or they could run into communications problems or unforeseen added costs if they have not signed up for the free internet deals provided by the organisers’ rate card by the September 1 deadline.
Delhi organisers have said that free wi-fi and local area network (LAN) cabled internet access will be provided around most media areas at the Games, claiming 390 such work desks in the main stadium for athletics alone.
This, on the face of it, is considerably better in cost terms than that offered by London 2012 organisers, where £150 charges will be levied for internet access at the Olympics.
Delhi’s Main Press Centre has been described as a “world class facility”, offering 600 work spaces, 300 of which are already equipped with work stations. Each seat has LAN access and there is a wi-fi area as well.
But there is confusion over whether it is possible to access such services if an order has not been placed in advance.
The issue was raised at yesterday’s England Commonwealth Games media briefing, where staff from at least two national titles discovered that the Indian organisers may not be flexible enough to arrange the planned free wi-fi access if orders have not been placed in advance.
According to one SJA member at the CGE briefing, “Fleet Street, apparently collectively, did not read the small print in the rate card (or probably even the rate card)!
“This means that you cannot buy their internet wi-fi when you arrive.
“However, there is internet and email availability free of charge in all venues for media. I am guessing this is the usual PCs which are limited in number and immediately pounced upon.
“The alternatives, say Caroline Searle, the CGE media chief, and team chief Craig Hunter, is your own UK 3G card (obviously expensive to use from India), which they say work OK. Also, of course, because of the 5.5-hour time difference, much filing can be done from media hotels where there is internet availability for laptops (they promise).”
Accreditation cards, which act as visas, were handed out to those present yesterday and will be posted to others in the next few days.
The British Isles will see teams from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland joined in India by representatives from the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, as well, of course, as England.
Today, it was confirmed that the England team for Delhi will be the biggest to travel to an overseas Games in the event’s 80-year history, with 371 athletes from 17 sports making the trip, 23 more than to Melbourne four years ago (the total of 444 athletes in England’s team for the Manchester Games in 2002 remains the largest).
England won 110 medals, 36 of them gold, in Melbourne four years ago, second only to Australia.
All 17 sports except Rugby 7s have named their squads. Rugby will announce its squad on September 15.
Aquatics’ double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington and world champions Liam Tancock, Gemma Spofforth and Tom Daley as well as athletics’ Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu and world champion Phillips Idowu are among England’s headline performers.
Pistol-shooter Mick Gault, 56, England’s oldest team member, could set a record for winning the most medals in any sport if he wins medals in four of the eight events he has entered in Delhi. He already has 15 medals, including nine gold, from his four Games. Phillip Adam, a shooter from Australia, holds the record with 18 medals from six Games.
The first England squad to arrive in Delhi will be lawn bowls on September 23.
- For further information about Commonwealth Games England please contact the Commonwealth Games England press office at Matchtight Ltd on (01225) 443 998 or 07831 755351 or see the CGE’s website at www.weareengland.org
The 2010 Commonwealth Games take place in Delhi, India, from October 3-14.
The 17 sports are archery, aquatics (swimming, synchronised swimming & diving), athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, shooting, squash, table tennis, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.