Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003
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By Our Sports Reporter
According to Suresh Kalmadi, president of Indian Olympic Association, the athletes had come from Abhuja to Mumbai this morning and then taken Air India flights to the City. He informed that the contingent had 50 boxers, including officials, and 15 tennis players.
The reception given to the Africans was better organised, from the athletes' point of view, compared to the one given to the Indian footballers. Since the accreditation process was completed in Abhuja itself, the athletes had a smooth passage en route to the hotel.
However, the media could know very little about any big names in the contingent. A couple of them who stopped briefly were South African boxer Bongani Mahlangu, the 60-kg silver medallist who proudly revealed his nickname `Hitman,' and Nigerian tennis player Rotimi Jegepe who said it was a great feeling to be in Asia, particularly India, about which "we have heard and read a lot."
A fleet of well-designed Volvo buses were there besides a large number of cars to transport the officials from the airport to the hotel. The athletes were escorted to the vehicles amidst heavy security.
S. Chandramohan Reddy, Minister for Information and Public Relations, said that the organisers would come out with a daily news bulletin Observer, highlighting the day's events.
As many as 60 foreign journalists are expected to cover the Games besides 80 from India, 550 Doordarshan staff (including technical personnel), 150 from All India Radio and 70 photographers.
Mr. Reddy said journalists with necessary accreditation cards would be allowed for the opening and closing ceremonies only if they carried the invitation card. "This is inevitable in view of the unprecedented security measures being taken for the Inter-Continental Games," he said.
The Minister clarified that the electronic media would not be allowed inside the venues and their access would be limited to the media centres at the venues where they can interact with the athletes for post-event briefings.
K. V. Ramanachary, IAS and convenor of Media & Publicity Committee for the Games, said the promotion campaign for the Games included pole ads, backlit kiosks, unipoles, and vinyl hoardings at various vantage points in and around the twin cities. About 440 buses were repainted with the mascot Sheroo and the logo Charminar, he added.
The organisers have also printed one lakh posters, stickers and brochures in addition to having 50 giant-size Sheroos not just in Hyderabad but in other metro cities as well.
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