Doha Diary 1

Since the squash tournament was commencing only from the 10th we left in the early hours of the 7th from Chennai. We reached Seeba International Airport, Doha at 3 pm via Muscat. On board we were told that those arriving for the games were to alight last. We were escorted to a hi tech terminal constructed specially for the Asian Games where immigration and obtaining our accreditation cards took no more that 3 minutes !! We realized it was raining in the desert when we left the terminal to board the coach which took us to the Athletes village.

I have been with the team to the last Asian Games in Korea (2002) and the South Asian Games in Pakistan (2004) and Srilanka (2006) and its always been different experience representing India at multi sport events. The games had started a week ago and as most events were well underway there was a buzz in the Athletes Village. We had dinner with Leander and his father Dr Vece Paes at the huge temporary tent which accommodates about 5,000 people, serving a variety of Asian cuisines. Yesterday, we practiced and checked mail on one of the 100 computers they have organized for the athletes. The only let down is the fact that there is no WiFi available in the village. Hence when I go to the cafe to check email there is a long line of people waiting to surf the net.

Saurav Ghosal beat Armando Amante of Macao 9/0, 9/3, 9/0, while Ritwik Bhattacharya and Joshna Chinappa have first round byes.  Last time we just missed out on a medal and we hope that with the improvement in our player rankings we will come home with medals this time round. Let the games begin!!