Biggest and most lavish

WHAT we have in store for us in less than four days is the biggest and most lavish ceremony.

Published: Mon 4 Aug 2008, 9:38 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:54 PM

The Olympics in Beijing begin at exactly 8 minutes past 8pm Chinese time, on 08-08-08 at the magnificent Bird's Nest. Bird's nest soup is one of the finest delicacies in Chinese cuisine and the design of the centrepiece stadium is in the lines of how intricately a bird's nest is formed and made. Architecture wise, it is truly out of the world — in concept and in execution. China is not going to leave any gap for error in what should be the best organised and conducted Olympics Games ever, after the 1964 Tokyo and 1988 Seoul Olympics. If the fireworks rehearsals on Saturday are anything to go by, then from August 8 to August 24, we will see what the word awesome means to sports. China has a lot to prove to the world. They have the military government and the athletes to deliver the goods, both being ruthlessly efficient and highly result oriented. What the rest of Asia does is another question barring South Korea and Japan who have top-10 medals placing capability. After them, the Gulf countries come best, at least in athletics and in shooting. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain have world class track and field personalities. UAE's Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum will be there trying to defend his double trap shooting gold he got in Athens.

The subcontinent has only one faint hope in a medal unless a fluke happens here or there. The Pakistan hockey side, though nowhere close to the class they had in the 80s and the 90s, can create a shock or two. One never knows, like the magic that came out of the green shirts in Los Angeles (1984) when many thought the side would not even make the last four grade. Sri Lanka has Asia's best woman sprinter in Susanthika Jayasinghe, silver medallist at the Sydney Olympics women's 200m and top three finishes in the 100m and the 200m at the IAAF world meets. India with all the big talk and analyses to justify the free trips for the writers and officials, does not even have an outside chance in any of the events except maybe in shooting. In this context, we hear that Sania Mirza's mother is accompanying the tennis team as a coach, at the expense of a youngster! But remember, the Chinese are not going to just stand by and watch the visitors reap gold, silver, or for that matter bronze.

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