Commonwealth Games Athletes and Officials Visit
Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi

October 2010


Experiences of CWG Athletes and Dignitaries


Name:  Wendy Trott
Country: South Africa
Sport: Swimming
Medal Achievement(s):  Silver Medal ( 800 metres freestyle)
 It was awesome.  I loved going around the temple. It’s very beautiful. I was amazed by all the designs.
You can tell it’s a very spiritual place and it has a lot of meaning to a lot of people and that’s very inspiring.
My experience in India has been great. I’m so impressed with the people out here. They are so friendly and so helpful and so proud as a nation and it’s been a very good opportunity for me.

Archery Team

Name: Archery Team
Country: Sri Lanka
Sport: Archery
Coach: It was wonderful. It was really inspiring and we got an insight into the Indian culture.
I think we should spread the message of peace and kindness, free of greed, lust and hatred.
I think this is a very good idea for ordinary lay people to come and cleanse their minds and become more spiritual.

Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon

Name:  Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon
Country: Canada
Sport: Synchronized Swimming Duet Women, Synchronized Swimming Solo Women
Medal Achievement(s): 2 Gold medals at 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Name:  Chloe Isaac
Country: Canada
Sport: Synchronized Swimming Duet Women
Medal Achievement(s): 1 Gold Medal at 2010 CWG
Marie-Pier: It was awesome and we think it was just like, words cannot say how amazing it is.
Chloe Isaac: We learnt that Indian culture is really rich and there is so much heritage. And we learnt so much today and its really impressive and we are just really proud to be here right now.
Marie-Pier: I will encourage all the athletes of every country to come here and get the same experience as we got here today because it’s an amazing one.

Anthony Hughes

Name: Anthony Hughes
Country: Wales
Sport: Athletics Coach (Paralympics)
I Just have to say it has been quite mind blowing, to take in everything I have seen.
I think my whole India’s experience so far has been that I have learnt that its people, its spirit and its will is about desire and friendship. I felt that since I came in I wanted to spend a little bit of time just to actually stare at the temple, to take it in absorbing that, and I think that was important for me.
The people and how people in magnificence can also be very humble.
The whole experience here has been humbling for me
I am just so impressed and I think that the rest of the world should visit.

Carol Huynh

Name: Carol Huynh
Country: Canada
Sport: Wrestling
Medal Achievement(s): Gold Medal- Wrestling
 It was amazing! I just wish I had more time to explore this place because we only had an hour, which is much too short. Getting to know the culture, values, and traditions of the Hindu religion was very enlightening.
The Hindu religion and culture, for my interpretation, is based on good values and being a good person. I took away with me the idea of reincarnation and that your karma dictates your next life.

Davina Stevenson

Name: Davina Stevenson
Country: Guyana
Sport:  Swimming  Coach/Manager
It was a wonderful experience. We greatly appreciated the architecture, peace, and tranquility. 
We would wish everyone spontaneous happiness; which is what we learned here today.

Jonathan Snell

Name:  Jonathan Snell
Country: Norfolk Island
Sport: Archery
It was unbelievable! We’ve been able to see it from the village and it looks spectacular but that is nothing compared to when you walk through the door or through the gates. It’s mind blowing. The craftsmanship and the feel is just something we didn’t expect and it was just unbelievable.
I would say if you come to India, you have to come and have a look at this. You have to experience the hospitality and the beauty of the temple.
Regarding the visit? We are just overwhelmed… all the media at the start, and the build up as you are probably are aware wasn’t the best but we’ve just found that to be totally untrue and we have just been overwhelmed by the whole experience so far.

Paul Anthony David

Name: Paul Anthony David
Country: Guyana
Sport:  Table  Tennis Athlete
This is one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I think the structure here is phenomenal. Everyone did an excellent job here. I think it is one of the wonders of the world.

Prasanta Karmakar

Name: Prasanta Karmakar
Country:  India
Sport: Para-athlete Swimmer
Medal Achievement(s): Bronze Medal – 50M freestyle S9 event
I was born & brought up in Calcutta and now I represent Haryana state. I represent India in the CWG 2010 as a swimmer. This is the first time when India has won a medal in swimming.
Akshardham can be seen from my room window. I had never thought of coming here. I use to see it every day but if I  had not come here I would have definitely missed a lot in my life.
But after coming to Akshardham and knowing about the temple and the work of P. Pramukh Swami Maharaj, I am now more attracted towards our culture.
I liked the atmosphere over here and your volunteers.

Tim Kneale

Name:  Tim Kneale
Country: Isle of Man
Sport: Shooting Singles Double Trap Men
Medal Achievement(s): Bronze Medal
What an amazing place it is. It’s been a bit mind blowing really. The sculptures, the architecture and the message.
It showed me a lot of things that I didn’t know originally. You tend to be worried about your own culture and society, so it’s interesting to come and learn new things in different places and experience other people’s views and ideas.

Alana Macdougall

Name:  Alana Macdougall
Country: Canada
Sport: Archery
Medal Achievement(s): Bronze Medal in Archery Recurve Team Women
It was excellent. It’s very peaceful here it’s kind of calming, it’s nice.
It’s beautiful! I’m overwhelmed.

Ang Peng Siong

Name: Ang Peng Siong
Country: Singapore
Sport: Swimming Team Coach and Team Manager
It was really amazing. I am really impressed. I am glad we made the trip here. Actually I am planning to bring my family here the next time.
My wife and I are Buddhist and I think there is a very close relation between the two religions. When I first stepped in it was a very calming experience altogether and that’s one of the reasons I would like to bring my wife here.

Bruce Quick

Name: Bruce Quick
Country: Australia
Sport: Shooting Pairs 50 m Pistol Men, 50 m Pistol Men, Pairs 25 m Rapid Fire Pistol, Shooting Singles 25 m, Rapid Fire Pistol Men
Medal Achievement(s): Bronze Medal – Rapid fire Pistol Pairs 25 m:
It’s great, here at the temple. We saw some lovely cultural things, and some educational stuff about India’s past. Very very educational and it’s a lovely place.
I think India is a great place and has a great future.

Edward Dawkins

Name:  Edward Dawkins
Country: New Zealand
Sport: Cycling Track (Cycling Track 1000m Time Trial Men, Cycling Track Keirin Men, Cycling Track Sprint Men, Cycling Track Team Sprint Men)
Medal Achievement(s): Silver Medal in Team Sprint and Bronze Medal 1000m Time Trial.
We got treated like kings, me and the other cyclist.
It’s given me a little bit of an insight.
The buildings are amazing and all the people. We watched the fountain show and it was really breathtaking as well.

Linda Ryan

Name: Linda Ryan
Country: Australia
Sport: Shooting Pairs 25 m Pistol Women, 25 m Pistol Women
Medal Achievement(s): Silver Medal (25 m Pistol Women Pairs)
My experience today was amazing, this wonderful temple is absolutely beautiful, but is also spiritual and is very inspiring.
I have discovered that Hinduism is a very spiritual way of looking at life. And actually interacting and connecting with all different areas of life.
India is absolutely friendly and of everybody has a welcoming nature in this country. It is an absolute pleasure to be here.

Ritul Chaterjee; Jignas Chittibomma

Name: Ritul Chaterjee; Jignas Chittibomma
Country: India
Sport: Archery
Medal Achievement(s): Silver Medal
Jignas: Akshardham is super! It is so pleasant here.
Ritul: This experience was very good. Gave peace of mind. The movie and the boat ride was very good and after that the aarti was so good that I cannot express it in words. One can only experience it. Very peaceful place. Neat and clean.
Ritul: See it does not matter what religion you belong to, the peace that you get here, this experience we will never forget because we experienced peace in our hearts and minds.

Ben Rosec

Name:  Ben Rosec
Country: Guernsey
Sport: Squash Coach
It was quite amazing! I have been in India for 10 days and to start with it was more, discovering the village, sharing with the athletes from all over the world, it was a time and a place together. It was amazing. The second thing was to discover the venue was the best ever for squash
Seeing all these wonderful things and learning a bit from the guide will give us some bit of history about Indian and its religion. It gives me a good taste and I want to go further and know more about Indian culture, religion, the monument and everything; it a great introduction. It’s quite impressive,
When you see new things, it opens your mind all the time and it is what you want in life. So yes, it’s really inspiring.
It’s great to build a place like this, to show what India can do because we need to know more about India.

Henry Birch

Name:  Henry Birch
Country: Guernsey
Sport: Squash
It’s brilliant. I can see the temple behind me, from the block actually and it’s very impressive. When it’s all lit up at night it’s just incredible.
What really struck me here was the architecture, for everything, It’s actually incredible. The impressive thing is that everything was handcrafted that was most impressive to me.
 It’s very peaceful and it’s very calming.

Justine Bouchard

Name:  Justine Bouchard
Country: Canada
Sport: Wrestling Freestyle 63 kg Women
Medal Achievement(s):  Gold Medal
It’s been amazing so far, everyone's been very accommodating. Wonderful hospitality, I feel like I’ve been treated like a champion the whole time.
I love opening my mind to new ways and this has been a great experience for me to learn the culture and the different experiences.

Marilou Dozois-Prevost (Gold Medal) / Marie-eve (Silver Medal)

Name:  Marilou Dozois-Prevost (Gold Medal) / Marie-eve (Silver Medal)
Country: Canada
Sport: Weight Lifting
Medal Achievement(s):  Gold Medal (53 Kg Category) / Silver Medal (75 Kg)
Marilou Dozois-Prevost : I think it’s really very beautiful and I was really impressed that how many people have worked here and that everything is hand carved. It’s so perfect and very impressive and very beautiful.
Marilou Dozois-Prevost : The values, I have them in my heart  but sometimes we just go into life and forget about it  and I think this is a great reminder to take them seriously and to live by them.

Natalie Du Toit

Name:  Natalie Du Toit
Country: South Africa
Sport: Swimming
Medal Achievement(s): 3 gold medals at Commonwealth Paralympics (women's 100m butterfly S9 event,100 m freestyle a,  50 m S9 freestyle)
 It’s been an absolutely amazing experience from the minute we walked in here. The hospitality has been amazing. Just walking around, for me it has been very humbling. To see the amazing architecture, to sense the amazing feeling when you walk in here, that’s it’s a temple and it’s peacefulness that’s really what I enjoy. The gardens and everything is immaculate.
Coming here it’s just phenomenal! Amazing! As I said I enjoy religions, so to come out here, everyone can be of a different religion but you can still respect someone else’s religion and still come out here and be a part of it.

William Sharman

Name:  William Sharman
Country: England
Sport: 110m Hurdle
Medal Achievement(s):  Silver Medal
Absolutely fantastic! It’s a beautiful place! Very relaxing and it has a lot of culture to it.


Name:  Ian Mitchel
Country: UK
Sport: Manager
We came to India to watch the Commonwealth Games and an open mind to learn about India and about the culture. We visited Akshardham earlier in the week and were truly impressed by the temple, its architecture, decoration, and the messages on life which we heard. The exhibitions were well presented, informative and thought provoking.

Jayaseelan Gurunathan

Name:  Jayaseelan Gurunathan
Country: Singapore
Sport: Sports Manager, Singapore National Paralympics Council
A truly magnificent and breathtaking building with an awesome history. I am dumbfounded!

Katrina Abdul Hadi

Name:  Katrina Abdul Hadi
Country: Malaysia
Sport: Synchronized Swimming Team
The Akshardham is a truly magnificent and beautiful place. When you first see the Mandir the sight is jaw dropping especially after a close look at all the intricate designs. The exhibits are interesting and laid out in a captivating manner. My day at this beautiful place has been an extremely enjoyable and insightful experience. I especially liked the fact that the whole Akshardham was built by volunteers and donations as a labour of love. It is one of the most incredible places that I have ever been in my life.


Name:  Marlon Jason Mack
Country: Antigua
Sport: Athletics Coach
Very enlightening and eye-opening. I am totally at peace with myself. A must visit for anyone who comes to India.


Name:  Liz Said
Country: Malta
Sport: Coach
The temple is magnificently grand. It shows what good craftsmen the people of India are. The boat ride was also very interesting. Would like to visit again during the day and see the temple in a different light.


Name:  Lade Vipul Perera
Country: Sri Lanka
A wonderful experience I got from coming here. I am a Buddhist so these beliefs are also found in our religion. I believe and hope that all these beliefs are good for this birth to succeed and for the next.


Name:  Adrian Bruce
Country: Isle of Man
Sport: Archery
Thoroughly enjoyable visit. The whole temple is awe inspiring and quite breathtaking. The carving is so intricate. It is stunning to believe it (Akshardham’s construction) was completed in only five years. (I) Very much enjoyed the water ceremony (Neelkanth Varni Abhishek).


Name:  Kurt Leonel Couto
Country: Mozambique
Sport: Student/Athlete
Coming from an outside place and being in the rush of everyday and modern life, it was really an experience to be here and really find out what peace means. One is never too old to learn and receiving knowledge. From what I learnt (at Akshardham) can only help me to become a better person and I am glad I got this great opportunity and I hope I can make a difference.


Name:  Alex Hedges
Country: Isle of Man
Sport: Gymnast
The temple is astonishing. The Neelkanth Varni IMAX movie was interesting and the boat ride was fantastic. My favorite part was the temple.