NEW DELHI – The Commonwealth Games have been clean so far on one front: 500 athletes who have been tested for doping have all been given the all-clear.
Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell told a scheduled news conference Saturday that 1,500 doping tests were planned during the games period, “and that target remains.” He said all tests conducted up to Thursday had come back negative, “and that is a positive result.”
The federation is responsible for testing the athletes and the World Anti-Doping Authority is observing. Fennell said that the number of tests will increase in pace with the number of finals – under the testing regime, all medal winners are tested and some are done randomly.
It was good news for the games, which have been plagued by stomach illnesses affecting some swimmers, near-empty stadiums, construction delays and filthy conditions in the athletes’ village before the games began.
Organizing committee officials said ticket sales for the games, which end on Oct. 14, are approaching the million mark – 946,000 as of Friday, including nearly 55,000 sold on Friday itself. And they said the reason for half-empty stadiums where tickets are reportedly sold out was that corporate sponsors were not passing thousands of them along to clients.
Still, Fennell said the situation needs to be improved.
“On attendance, it is not fully satisfactory,” Fennell said. “We will continue to keep pressure on the organizing committee to see what can be done, whether it be sales or complimentary tickets to groups.”
The program for the sixth day of competition involved 32 gold medals, including nine in athletics and eight on the final day of swimming. Local hope Sania Mirza was to play the women’s singles tennis final. Two golds were decided early in the men’s and women’s 20-kilometer walks.
In the men’s race that started at 7:30 a.m., Jared Tallent pulled away from Australian teammate Luke Adams on the penultimate lap to win the gold medal.
Adams, who has won three straight Commonwealth Games silver medals in the event, led for much of the race on the 2-kilometer loop in central New Delhi but stumbled with about three kilometers to go. Tallent took advantage of the mishap to add gold to the bronze he won four years ago in 1 hour, 22 minutes, 18 seconds.
Jo Jackson of England won the women’s race in 1:34:22. Clare Tallent of Australia, Jared’s wife, took silver and then walked right into the arms of her husband, who was waiting at the finish line.
A stray dog ran onto the track and into the in-field at the main stadium, causing a delay in the javelin section of the heptathlon before he was chased away by security.
In group stage rematch of the 2006 men’s field hockey final, three-time gold medalist Australia edged Pakistan 1-0 to advance to the semifinals from Pool A.
Pakistan’s 22-year-old goalkeeper Imran Shah made some spectacular saves and was beaten only by Chris Ciriello’s drag flick from a 33rd-minute penalty corner.
Pakistan could have got the equalizer in the last minute but Mohammad Imran’s push from the penalty corner went wide.
“We didn’t concede defeat throughout the match and even got a chance in the last minute, but couldn’t convert the penalty corner,” Pakistan striker Shakeel Abbasi said.
James Tindall scored three goals to help England replace New Zealand from the top of Pool B with a 5-3 win.