CWG shouldn’t have been awarded to India: Australia
New Delhi, Sept 24: The Commonwealth Games should not have been awarded to India, considering how preparations have gone, but the clock is ticking and it’s time to move ahead, said Australia’s Olympic Committee leader.
“I don’t think it is a cultural thing. When you agree to host an Olympic Games, you are required to provide the basics in terms of health and hygiene for the athletes. I’m very aware, having hosted Games, and I don’t think you reduce yourself to the lowest common denominator,” Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said Friday.
Organizers are scrambling to pull together the Commonwealth Games, which are to start on October 3 in New Delhi.
India’s ability to host the games has been questioned following a bridge collapse and criticism of the athletes’ village as uninhabitable and filthy. Myriad countries threatened to pull out of competition.
The Commonwealth Games take place every four years among members of the former British empire.
With days to go before the games’ start, Commonwealth Games President Mike Fennell was to meet Indian Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar in New Delhi late Friday afternoon. They were expected to discuss the troubled preparations.
Late Thursday, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh called a crisis meeting with two Cabinet ministers over readiness for the games.
India’s home minister also on Thursday set time lines for construction, saying that police could not secure venues for the games if deadlines were missed. No details were released about the deadlines or possible consequences in case construction was not finished.
The list of countries that will compete is in flux, as teams await updates on construction and hygiene at games sites. Late Friday afternoon, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales were among the countries planning to send their teams. Canada, New Zealand and Scotland had delayed their teams’ departures for the event.
“I am certainly pleased to arrive in Delhi with the news that Australia has moved into the village to get ready for the arrival of their athletes, and with the confirmation late yesterday that England and Wales will be on their way to Delhi shortly,” Fennell said in a news release Friday afternoon.
He was to tour the village on Friday for a firsthand look.
Welsh athletes were reassured by the games’ organizers, the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales said.
“The advance party will now be moving into our accommodation and we look forward to welcoming our athletes in the coming days,” the Welsh council said in a news release.
Worldwide criticism and stepped-up involvement by higher-level Indian officials at the last minute appeared to help the games turn the corner. A private cleaning company also was hired to give athletes’ housing a deep clean. Earlier in the week, photos showed soiled rooms that included excrement and animal footprints.
Construction concerns also spread after a pedestrian bridge collapsed at a stadium Tuesday, injuring 27 people. Ceiling tiles fell off the same stadium Wednesday.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 24 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 24 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 25 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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