2010 Commonwealth Games: Good news, without the bad and the ugly.
Among the controversy surrounding the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, the recent $9-million dollar drug bust this week whereby three men stand accused in a Vancouver courtroom of drug smuggling revealed one of the accused has a son competing in the Commonwealth Games.
Francisco Gomez, 51 years old is a Metro Vancouver area import-export broker and businessman who stands charged of using his business to facilitate the shipment of an estimated $9 million dollars worth of cocaine to methamphetamines from Mexico. The drugs were seized this week at the Port of Vancouver encased in landscaping bricks. Francisco has pleaded innocent of all charges.
While innocence until proven guilty is the de rigueur in this country, it may not bode well for his son, who is a race walker at the Commonwealth Games. Will the news of charges against Francisco Gomez affect the younger Inaki Gomez’s performance? That is yet to be seen.
What is clear it seems the Canadian media reporting from the Commonwealth Games must be suffering from a slow news day with daily updates on condoms clogging drains, snakes in suites, substandard facilities to sickness among athletes and now an accused drug trafficker has a son who is a Commonwealth Games competitor.
It seems more news is concentrated on the bad and the ugly instead of the good coming from the games, such as Canada’s medal standings amongst other Commonwealth competitors which seem to only get a cursory nod in some media.
I have two friends from Metro Vancouver competing in the Commonwealth Games, I have been getting updates from New Delhi and while one friend bowed out of competition this week due to sickness, the other friend is thriving among the supposed chaos constantly reported by the Canadian media.
On September 30, 2010 (on departure from Vancouver) apparently it has been reported by an eye witness on the flight from Toronto to Belgium was a complete nightmare, as it took 12 hours instead of 6 hours when one female passenger suffered a heart attack mid flight, resulting in the aircraft a mere 1 hour away from landing in Europe to turn back to Gander, Newfoundland.
Notwithstanding that the Air Conditioning only works when the plane is operational and in flight, the body odour inside the plane as it refueled in Gander, Newfoundland was overwhelming, reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode. The overpowering stench of body odour finally had the flight crew open the door to allow fresh air to get in the aircraft cabin.
Once in Brussels, Belgium, another 2 and a half hour delay as Germany would not allow air clearance of the aircraft over German airspace.
Again the Body Odour issue once again greeted passengers nostrils.
On October 02, 2010, a full two days travel, New Delhi was an experience as the relieved passengers disembarked off the plane.
Contrary to Canadian media reports, one athlete found the accommodations were superb with all the niceties one would enjoy back home in Canada. Complete with HD TV and a dining room and full service kitchen and not a cobra in sight.
The Canada High Commission, with the Sports Minister and Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla from Toronto was in tow to greet and dine with the athletes in New Delhi.
The Canadian High Commission held a luncheon of exclusive Canadian fare from burgers, fries, hotdogs, diet coke, sprite etc.
The Canadian High Commission luncheon fare paled in comparison to the Athletes Village cafeteria which put out an amazing spread of foods of all types from local Indian dishes such as butter chicken to lamb chops, pasta, butter chicken, to fish and best of all fresh juices.
One athlete commented his training area was awesome, again despite Canadian media reports of substandard conditions.
Though all the niceties New Delhi had to offer, culture shock came in the form of armed police everywhere as well as elite commandos armed to the teeth as both security details were an ever present reminder "You ain't in Kansas anymore" or Canada for that matter.
If athletes come back with any fond memories of the Commonwealth games, one thing lasting memory for sure is Canada, our home sweet home.