New Delhi – He ran the wrong direction and went way out of his lane, but he was still golden at the Commonwealth Games.
A golden-haired dog ran onto the track and into the infield today at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, drawing cheers from the crowd before eventually being chased out through a tunnel.
“It’s not an uncommon phenomenon,” said IAAF technical director Keith Davies, who attends track meets around the world. “We’ve had dogs, we’ve had cats, foxes.”
The dog burst onto the track through a tunnel near the athletes’ exit and crossed the finish line before heading onto the grass of the infield.
The intrusion happened between the men’s and women’s 400m hurdles heats, and didn’t disrupt any track events.
“There are no physical barriers at the exit points. There are only moveable barriers,” Davies said. “Once they get past the fence.”
After a few moments of roaming on the grass, two workers ran out onto the infield to catch the dog.
However, the canine visitor evaded the chasers, to the roar of the crowd, and then ran out the tunnel near the 100m starting line, completing a most bizarre reverse sprint.
Stray dogs are prominent on the streets of New Delhi, but seldom cause much problems for the city’s inhabitants.
But the intrusion also highlighted yet another problem facing organisers who are struggling to get things right.
With faulty scales at a boxing weigh-in, swimmers getting ill by the dozen and a scoreboard collapsing at the rugby venue, problems and glitches remain prevalent at the games in New Delhi.
Eagles, horses and monkeys
And it wasn’t just the dog that was invading the field of play today.
Dozens of Indian eagles were circling overhead for much of the morning session, getting more and more daring after the break in action and briefly touching the track and grass.
It continues a theme at the games.
To allay fears over security at the event, India has blanketed New Delhi with protection, setting up roadblocks and dispatching teams of soldiers with assault rifles throughout the capital.
Officers on horseback patrolled the streets, while police kept watch over the athletes’ village from behind sandbagged barricades.
The security plan includes 100 000 police – some brought from more than 1 200km away – thousands of commandos, hundreds of explosives-sniffing dogs and more than a dozen bomb disposal squads.
On top of all that, the government was also sending large, fierce langur monkeys to some of the venues to keep gangs of smaller, wilder monkeys away from athletes and spectators.
Spotting monkeys in New Delhi is not uncommon.
The animals often cause havoc as they scamper through hospitals and government offices.