London 2012: Indian athletes bemoan living conditions in Olympics athletes’ village

 

British athletes weren’t short of complaints about the living conditions in the athletes’ village at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and now managers of this year’s Indian delegation in London have taken their sweet revenge.

Paresh Nath Mukherjee, general secretary of the Archery Association of India, said there isn’t enough room to swing a cat. “If the accommodation at the Commonwealth Games was five-star, on that scale the accommodation here at the Games Village is not even two-star,” he moaned to the Hindustan Times. “With the equipment and everything else kept at one side, there is hardly space to move. The rooms are very cramped. The Village here is absolutely spick and span. But in hindsight, the accommodation at the Commonwealth Games was so much better and even then, we were criticised.”

His glowing review of the Delhi digs will come as a shock to Scottish athletes, who described their base in the Indian capital as “unsafe and unfit for human habitation”. They were moved to a new building, but even then the apartments required "serious cleaning and maintenance". Pictures of the incomplete rooms showed muddy animal paw prints on mattresses and rusty, filth-covered sinks. Swimmers including Liverpudlian gold medal hope Fran Halsall found themselves unable to compete at their best after contracting a stomach bug.

American athletes have brains and brawn

Whenever the National Literacy Trust enlists Premier League footballers to name their favourite books in an effort to make reading cool, the results tend to resemble another annually comoposed list of the books clogging the shelves of charity shops nationwide. Surely following up a Dan Brown tome with a sporting biography is a recipe to put children off reading forever?

So it’s gratifying to find that American track athletes are showing a bit more literary guile. World Champion sprinter Lauryn Williams and middle distance runner Alysia Montano are co-chairing a book club that is currently tackling The History of Love, a novel by Nicole Krauss that was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2006. Their choice of material may be inspired, but ideas for a group name are less so. Suggested ideas include “The Book Club Bookies” and “The Paperback Club”. “We're still working on it,” said Williams.

Westfield woes

It may be a retail Mecca, but the sprawling Westfield shopping complex in Stratford has a long way to go in giving Arabic speakers a proper welcome. Erected in its hangar-like halls are banners proudly proclaiming “welcome to London” in Arabic. Alas, those more conversant in the language than Westfield staff pointed out that the messages translate into English as: “N O D N O L O T E M O C L E W.” Say it quickly, and it perhaps appropriately sounds like “No, not a clue”. Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding said: “It beggars belief they cannot even write 'welcome' in Arabic. What will our Olympic guests be thinking? It is cringeworthy.” Westfield said the banners are “currently being reprinted and will be replaced as soon as possible”.

Sheffield awaits golden post box

Sports stars who win medals at the Olympic Games have it made: Money from sponsorship deals, a nation’s adulation, corporate speaking gigs for daft fees and a guaranteed spot on their choice of Dancing on Ice or Strictly Come Dancing. But Royal Mail have decided to add to these considerable glories by painting red post boxes in their home towns the colour of whatever medal they should win. So if Jessica Ennis bags gold in the heptathlon, Sheffield residents can look forward to depositing their mail into a blingy metallic eyesore. Should Britain triumph in a team event or relay, a dedicated team will slap some paint on a post box near their training base. The first such box was unveiled yesterday in Westminster Abbey, marking the first ever departure from the traditional red hue since 1874.

Olympic flame goes underground

The Olympic flame took a journey on the London Underground yesterday, as the torch was carried by signalman John Light between Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park. Any fears that the torch might be extinguished en route would have been dismissed beforehand by Tube regulars, whose own experiences on the District Line would attest to its painful slowness. Should organisers want more thrills, spills, and third degree burns, a trip on the Central Line between Stratford and Bank at 8.30am might be advised. Reaction on Twitter to the Torch’s latest escapade was a little mute, with users seemingly more enthused by the idea of giving Billy from EastEnders another go.

Oddbins prods brand police

Were a child to wear face paints depicting the Olympic rings, you wouldn’t put it past Locog to despatch a Level 2 consulting brand officer to order their removal with a damp cloth, such are the strict enforcements surrounding the Games logos and trademarks. But now off licence chain Oddbins has called for Olympic officials to descend from their battlements and approach the issue with a bit of common sense. Anyone wearing Nike trainers who has in their pocket a set of Vauxhall car keys, an RBS MasterCard, an iPhone, a bill from British Gas and a receipt for a Pepsi bought at KFC will get 30 per cent off at Oddbins stores. Attempts to locate a sense of humour at Adidas, BMW, Visa, Samsung, EDF Energy, Coke and McDonalds have thus far proved unsuccessful.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice