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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Curtains Come Down on 2012 Commonwealth Games - India Did it!!

After 11 days of grueling battles, sweating, running, failed tactics, successful tackles, ecstasy, agony, defeats and triumphs, curtains have finally come down on the highly controversial but equally successful 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

The 19th edition of the Commonwealth games opened its doors to thousands of athletes and officials from 71 Commonwealth countries on the 3rd October. The athletes competed on various disciplines including boxing, athletics, wrestling, swimming, hockey, rugby, badminton, table tennis, to name but a few.

Among the 71 participating nations were nineteen African countries who squared off with the rest of the world in the clamour for 271 gold medals, 271 silver medals and 282 bronze medals that were on offing.

By the time the last event, the men’s and women’s marathon, were staged in a chilly morning across the city of Delhi, Africa was already celebrating a medal haul that surpassed the numbers in Melbourne, Australia in 2006.

Kenya in particular was in a high jubilation mood as they won both the men's and women's marathons on the final day of the Games.

33-year-old John Eriku Kelai ran away with the men’s 42km race in 2:14.35 beating Australian Michael Shelley to silver while another Kenyan, Amos Matui was content with the bronze.

Kenyan women went one better, winning gold and silver with Irene Kosgei crossing the line first in 2:34:32 to win Kenya her 12th gold at the games. Irene Mogaka stopped the clock 11 seconds later, while Australia's Lisa Weightman took the Bronze in 2:35:25.

Kenya became the most successful participating nation in athletics with all but Jason Dunford’s gold in the men’s 50m butterfly coming from the discipline. This is the first time that Kenya has been the most successful country in Athletics in Commonwealth Games history.

Australia, the highest achieving team since the Commonwealth Games was first held in 1930 under the title of the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada was once again a class above the rest, taking the top spot with 74 gold medals. Hosts India edged out a stiff competition from England to finish second with 38 gold medals, one better than the third placed English. Canada bagged 26 gold to finish fourth ahead of a pack of three African nations.

At fifth position, South Africa finished as the best-placed African team, although only a bronze medal separated them from the impressive team of Kenyan athletes.

The South Africans finished with 12 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals, while Kenya only had a bronze less to finish sixth in their best ever outing since they joined the Commonwealth games in 1954. In spite of being stripped of the women's 100m gold won by Damola Osayemi after she failed a drugs test, Nigeria finished a commendable 9th with 11 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze medals.

Osayemi and another Nigerian, Samuel Okon, who finished 6th in the men’s 110m hurdles, tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine which was added in 2009 to the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned drugs.

Of these top three African teams, only South Africa performed relatively poorer than in the 2006, while both Kenya and Nigeria doubled their 2006 gold medal collection.

The Rainbow nation had 12 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze in 2006 but still finished fifth. Kenya finished 10th overall in Melbourne with 6 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze, while Nigeria was placed a distant 12th with 4 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze medals.

Uganda and Botswana are the only other Africa teams that will travel back to Africa with gold. Uganda’s two gold medals won by the sensational Moses Kipsiro in the men’s 5000m and 10000m ensured they nailed the fourth spot in Africa and 18th overall, while Botswana finished 22nd overall with a single gold and three bronze medals. Cameroon, Ghana, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius all failed to win the coveted gold but registered their names in the medals table occupying positions 26, 27, 28,30 and 33.

Rwanda, which made its first Commonwealth Games appearance after being admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations in November 2009 left empty handed, so did Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Gambia Tanzania, Mozambique and Swaziland.

Moses Kipsiro of Uganda was no doubt one of the standout athletes in the event. After upsetting Kenyans on his way to claiming gold in the men’s 5000m, he repeated what can only be termed as unprecedented in the10000m when he hanged on just long enough to finish ahead of Kenyan trio, Daniel Lemashon, Joseph Kiptoo and Titus Mbishei. Special praises can also be preserved for Jason Dunford who gave Kenya her first gold medal in the swimming competition. Dunford beat South Africa's Mark Schoeman and Andrew Huegill from Australia in a hotly contested race at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee Swimming Stadium.

Meanwhile, Jamaican triple jumper Trecia Smith got the 2012 Commonwealth Games David Dixon Award.  The award, introduced in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and named after former Commonwealth Games Federation Secretary, is given to the most outstanding athlete of the Commonwealth Games who also exudes fairplay and contribution to the team.

South African swimmer, Natalie Du Toit was the inaugural winner of the award in 2002 while Indian shooter Samaresh Jung won the 2006 award in Melbourne, Australia.

This was the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games. The 20th edition will be held in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland from 24 July to 3 August 2014.

See the full Commonwealth Games Medal Table here... 

Africa at Commonwealth

Country                                       G       S       B        Total        2006 Total

1 (5)     South Africa                  12      11      10           33                38
2 (6)     Kenya                            12       11       9          32               18        
3 (9)     Nigeria                           11      10     14          35               17    
4 (18)   Uganda                            2        0       0            2                 3
5 (22)   Botswana                         1        0       3            4                2
6 (26)   Cameroon                         0         2       4           6                3
7 (27)   Ghana                                0         1       3           4                3
8 (28)   Namibia                             0         1       2          3               2
9 (30)   Seychelles                         0         1        0          1                2    
10 (33)  Mauritius                          0          0        2         2                3   

And That's thesteifmastertake!!