Prince Myshkin Posted September 22, 2010 Share Posted September 22, 2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11386926 Further doubts have been cast over next month's Delhi Commonwealth Games after two athletes withdrew and others postponed travelling to the event. More than 40 officials and athletes from the Scottish team have delayed their flight to Delhi. An Australian discus champion and an English triple jumper cancelled on Tuesday, citing security concerns. New Zealand's PM said he would support any of his country's athletes who did not attend. It comes after a day after Commonwealth Games Federation officials severely criticised the state of the athletes' accommodation in Delhi. Also on Tuesday, a foot bridge under construction near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main Games venue, collapsed, injuring 27 workers, five seriously. It was the latest setback to an event that has been plagued by construction delays, allegations of corruption and a dengue fever outbreak in the Indian capital. Australia's Sports Minister Mark Arbib said more Australian athletes might follow world discus champion Dani Samuels, who said she would not attend because of health and safety concerns. Security fears were heightened at the weekend when two tourists were wounded by gunmen on a motorcycle near the Jama Masjid mosque in the capital. Meanwhile, a decision about the England team's participation in the Games will be made in the next 48 hours. On Tuesday, English world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu withdrew from the event, also citing security concerns. Two other members of the England team - Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu and 1,500m runner Lisa Dobriskey - pulled out, blaming injury worries. The head of England's Commonwealth Games team, Craig Hunter, has warned that "time is beginning to run out" for organisers. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told reporters on Wednesday that any cancellation of the Games could be disastrous for the future of the event and for India's world standing. But he added: "If an individual athlete decides they don't want to go for their own reasons, I would support them because I think, in the end, they have to make their own decision on whether they feel comfortable or not with the risks involved." The head of New Zealand's Commonwealth Games team, Dave Currie, earlier warned that if the arrivals of the athletes had to be pushed back, it could ultimately result in the competition being cancelled. Michael Fennell, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said on Tuesday that advance teams had been shocked by what they had seen at the athletes' village, where toilets were filthy and flats unfinished. The Indian government has convened a high-level meeting to review the situation. Delhi Lt-Governor Tejinder Khanna has reportedly been told by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to personally oversee the work and submit a status report everyday. The secretary general of the organising committee, Lalit Bhanot, earlier said the authorities understood the concerns shown by some member countries and the Commonwealth Games Federation. But he suggested that the complaints could be due to "cultural differences". "Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards, we have different standards," he said. Officials from the Ministry of Sports promised last year that the village would be ready in March 2010. Built alongside the Yamuna River in the east of Delhi, it consists of a series of blocks of flats to house about 7,000 athletes and their families, a 2,300-seat cafeteria, and practice areas. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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