Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Commonwealth Games in Crisis

COMMONWEALTH Games organisers have suffered a major set back — after a bridge close to the main stadium collapsed. Several people are said to have suffered injuries in the accident in New Delhi.

The horror comes after a number of countries' team leaders, including those from England, Scotland and Wales, expressed "grave concerns" over the standard of the athletes' village being built by the Indian organisers.

With less than two weeks to go until the Games are due to open, doubts have been cast over whether they can still go ahead.

The bridge collapsed near the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium — the main venue for the Games.

The 100-metre long bridge was being built to provide better access to the stadium from a car park.

Officials said the bridge collapsed when labourers were applying a concrete layer to the structure.

It is further bad news for organisers already reeling after several nations this morning expressed concern at the athletes' accommodation.

Team leaders claimed some of the village was "unsafe and unfit for human habitation".

A statement from Commonwealth Games Scotland today confirmed the crisis, saying: "Representation has been made to the Commonwealth Games Federation to make a realistic decision as to at what point and under what conditions they would determine whether the Games will be able to go ahead should the village issues not be resolved."

The Scottish team has been given other accommodation after complaining — but even that was not up to standard and had to be cleaned and mended.

The Games start on October 3, with 6,500 athletes due to start arriving within days.

Commonwealth Games England said although they remained optimistic the event can go ahead, there was a need for "urgent" work, especially with plumbing and electrics.

Michael Fennell, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, has admitted the village is "seriously compromised" and has written to the Indian Cabinet Secretary expressing his "great concern".

He said: "The village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition.

"Many nations that have already sent their advanced parties to set up within the village have made it abundantly clear that, as of the afternoon of September 20, the Commonwealth Games village is seriously compromised."

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