The busiest place in the Asian games village here may well be the self-service laundry which has 110 automatic washing machines and 30 dryers.

The 5 attendants, posted there for helping athletes, have their hands full (of dirty linen) as village officials say over 1000 athletes have already been to the modem “Dhobi Ghat’.

The busiest people are probably the cooks serving over 6000 athletes and officials at the village.

The separate dining serves varied dishes to suit different palates of participants from 37 countries, each athlete consumes a daily average of 0.75 kg of meat and 4.5 kg of fruits

Athletics buffs in India will remember Myanamar’s Burma’s Khin Khin Htwe, who won the women’s 1500 metres title at the Asian track and field meet at New Delhi last Nov.

According to Coach Kyaw Khin, she is the country’s biggest medal hope at the ‘games.

After a 12-yrabsence from the continental sporting events, Myanmar sent 37 athletes to take part in six events here. Khin Hwte, 23, shot into prominence at the South East Asian games last summer with 3 gold medals.

The China central television (CCTV) has arranged for extensive coverage of the games, being described here as the largest tv coverage in Asian games history, cctv will cover 18 of the 29 events,

In offers 930 hours of international transmission for the overseas tv networks and 280 hours for local viewing, There are about 120 commentator’s booths in the various stadia from where a record 1,300 broadcasting crew would cover the games for 10 tv networks in 29 countries.

Barring Iraq all the members of the 38strong OCA figured in the march past at the ‘Opening ceremony with a lone Jordanian carrying his country’s flag. Iraq was suspended by OCA’s special general assembly on Thursday.

Among the dignitaries present on the occasion was Pakistan president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan and international Olympic committee president, Juan Antonio Samaranch.

The 3 OCA vice-presidents, DE Silva, Kim Chong Ha and Bob Hassan, had to perform the functions normally done by the president. De silva read out the welcome speech, Hassan invited the Chinese president to inaugurate the games open while Kim Chong Ha handed over the OCA flag to the hosts.

China’s table tennis player Chen Long can took the oath on behalf of all the participants while sharp-shooter xu haifeng lit the Asian games flame as he carried the torch accompanied by world and Olympic titlists Zhang Rongfang and Goa Min,

Usha is flag bearer.

India’s star athlete PT Usha has been given the honor of carrying the tricolor at the ‘opening ceremony of the games here at the worker’s stadium.

For Usha, who is very popular here as well among the media persons from different countries, this will be her last competition.

Search for more Medals

India begins the 11th Asian games here in search of more medals than the 37 it got at Seoul! Four years ago -and a change for the battered image of the country’s sports,

“Golden gist’ PT Usha at the forefront of the athletics team, expected to bring in the ‘most medals as usual, but this time it will also have the likes of Bahadur Prasad and steeplechaser Dina Ram to look up to for medals

Taking part in 16 of the 27 disciplines at the games, India will also look to contributions from the men’s hockey team, tennis players, archers, weight lifters and wrestlers to shore up its medal haul,

Its campaign gets under way on a lake far from the Chinese capital. The yachtsmen ‘will lead the 200-plus participants from the second most populous country of the world in the games.

Opposed to barring Iraq

NEW DELHI: India is opposed to the Olympic council of Asia’s decision barring Iraq from participating in the Beijing Asian game

An Indian foreign ministry spokesman said that the United Nations sanctions against Iraq did not warrant such an action

“We are not in favor of barring Iraq from participation in Asian games” the spokesman said.

Usha has little time

India’s “Golden Girl” may find herself with little breathing time between the 400 metres and the 100 metres finals in the 11th Asian games.

According to the schedule available here, there will be just half an hour between the two events.

‘We shall raise the matter in the technical committee meeting two days before the track and field events begin Usha’s coach and mentor, OM Nambiar.

Nambiar also indicated that Usha had decided to skip the 400m hurls event since the schedule available two months ago showed only a gap of 45 minutes between the 200m and the hurdles final.

Fierce battle for Hockey

CHINA: The quest for the Asian games men’s hockey glory here is expected to bring to the fore a fierce three-way battle between holders South Korea, runners-up Pakistan and former champions India.

The Bejioa hockey field, situated on the West side of the sports complex, may not be of much interest to the spectators but for the three countries the venue is an important landmark.

The competition, which goes on till October 5, offers much more than a gold medal to the winners as each one of these teams are in search for a bigger prize a berth for the 1992 Olympic games at Barcelona in Spain.

The team which climbs on to the winner’s podium on October 5, will avoid going through the tricky qualifying rounds for the next Olympics.

In addition, each team is spurred by different considerations, India and world cup runners-up Pakistan, dubbed the Asian Giants, look forward to avenging the shocking defeat suffered at Seoul in 1986 while the South Koreans will be out to prove that their title win at home four years ago was no fluke.

Indian team manager, Jhaman Lal Sharma, gave both India and Pakistan even chances to win the title here, an assessment that matches with his Pakistani counterpart Manzoor-Ul-Hassan.

Sharma said, “I expect the match between India and Pakistan to decide the title and both of us have fifty-fifty chances”.

The Indian team has had the feel of the poligrass surface here which is fast and hard with some bumps noticeable in midfield

“We have to win all the matches and there is no option,” said Sharma and added that both South Korea and h China will be tough customers.

The Indian team for the opening match against China may figure newcomers like Jagdev Singh in deep defense recent times.

The attack is fluid but one gray area could be the penalty-comer conversions although the induction of Jagdey will ease the pressure on skipper Pargat Singh

Pakistan’s climb-back after hitting an all-time low at the London world cup and the humiliation at the hands of South Korea at Seoul is well known.

Understandably captain Qazi Mohib and his team will be vary of the South Koreans who troubled them at the last Asia cup in Delhi in November 1989.

The fact that they missed to seven nation BMW title by a narrow margin will only strengthen the squad although they may not forget the sound thrashing by India there.

Pakistan, who have replaced two members from the squad that took part in the world cup, will meet minnows Japan in the opening round-robin league match,

On the same day hosts China, the unknown commodity, will begin their campaign with a match against Malaysia,

Article extracted from this publication >> September 28, 1990