I take back my earlier comment about the Commonwealth Games. This afternoon I watched on TV the two marathons, won by Kenyans, though Australia got a silver in the men’s and a bronze in the women’s.
The marathon has always intrigued me. From its Greek origins to its present day ascendancy. Close friends Roger Robinson and Kathrine Switzer have written a marvelous history of the event.It has often been the highlight of the Olympic Games.
Today’s two races were as usual mixtures of skill and stamina, fortune and preparation. The jockeying for position, the judgement of pace, the cat and mouse tactics and the decision as to when to make the decisive burst, it was all there. I sat riveted as watched the race proceed.
But I had one disappointment. The race did not finish in front of the packed athletic stadium. I am a ritual person. That is customary. I accept Delhi’s heat warrants early starts but somehow it took away the glamour of the event.
I realise that has been my problem all week. Because of my own needs I’ve only been watching preliminary heats and events. These have taken place before empty stadiums. The crowd’s hype is part of the occasion. I’ve missed the rest of the athletics. That’s my loss.
I also watched live on my computer the last miner loaded into the capsule to arrive safely on the surface. What a feat. But the BBC commentator kept talking about the last person. There were three rescue people still down in the mine. Not till they came out was the task finalised it seemed to me. How did the last man lcok himself into the capsule? It worried me. The worries we have that are wasted energy. Someone had obviously worked it out. But I would like the media to acknowledge it. Those three men who went down to assist the trapped miners were brave. They deserve praise. The headlinees talk of 33 heroes. I say 36.
Postscript. two hours later. I also take back the last paragraph. TV3 tonight did talk about the rescuers left behind. And there were six of them.The last one entered the capsule and shut it internally.