Commonwealth games in turmoil

The viability of the Commonwealth
Games in Delhi has again been thrown into question after a footbridge near the
main stadium collapsed, injuring at least 23 people, and Australia’s world
champion discus thrower, Dani Samuels, withdrew over security and health concerns.

And in another blow to the
credibility of the event, a senior Games official made a withering attack on
standards in the athletes’ village.

In unprecedented criticism of
Delhi’s facilities, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mike
Fennell, said the newly built village had been seriously compromised and
conditions in the residences had “shocked the majority” of overseas

His concerns were echoed by New
Zealand’s chef de mission, who raised the possibility that the event would have
to be cancelled.

“The reality is that if the
village is not ready and athletes can’t come, the implications are that it’s
not going to happen,” Dave Currie said. ”I think they are in severe
difficulties … it’s going to be extremely hard to get across the line.”

While Australian officials have
described the conditions for athletes as “very dirty” and raised concerns
about poor communications within the village, the issues will not stop the
planned arrival of athletes in Delhi from next Monday.

Officials from the Scottish,
Canadian and Northern Irish teams have also complained about conditions in the
village. Some reportedly described the residences as ”unliveable”.

The Games have been plagued by
construction delays and allegations of corruption.

Mr Fennell went over the head of
the Games organising committee and sent a letter raising his concerns to the
Indian government’s top official, the Cabinet Secretary, K. M. Chandrashekar,
who visited the village to assess the problems.

The games are scheduled to begin on
3 October with the opening ceremony.


The footbridge at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was due to be completed this week.
Photo: CNN

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