Indo-Pak, Kiwi-Aussie rivalries likely to be high points of Games

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Melbourne, Mar 13 (UNI) Started purely as 'friendly Games', the Commonwealth sporting extravaganza has been caught in a commericial and finacial quagmire and now the organisers are forced to use 'tradional rivalry between the countries' to attract the people to stadia.

The organisers are banking heavily on India and Pakistan teams to make make men's hockey competition a huge success.

''There is a very large population of the Indian and Pakistanis and the match between these to arch rivals will attract full house'' said a Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) official.

Asking for anonymity for obvious reasons, he said, ''We may still call them friendly games but to sustain and make them financially viable, you need such rivalries.'' Moving away from the sub-continent, the Games are likely to see a bitter struggle for supermacy on the field between Australia and New Zealand, Australia and England and Scotland and England.

The rivalry between Aussies and Kiwis is well known and though not as intense as India-Pakistan, it still arouses passions from the people who otherwise are very laid back.

Besides hockey, the India-Pakistan rivalry is like to spill over to two other sports -- shooting and boxing.

''We are medal contenders in these two events'' said a Pakistani official.

Then there is a competition between Australia and England and it has a historical perspective. and the hosts hope that this time again they will be able to beat their previous colonial masters.

In case of New Zealand, they are sending their largest ever contingent of 225 athletes and officials for the Games.

Watch out Australia - here come the New Zealanders. With 255 competitors coming to the Games from across the Tasman, this is the largest number ever sent to a Commonwealth Games, and they are looking for medals.

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