India

Another collapse, more withdrawals dog Delhi Games

Reuters

Part of a false ceiling collapsed Wednesday in the main stadium for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, in the latest incident to strike the disaster-strewn event. It comes amid a number of withdrawals by athletes worried for their safety, and upset over what they describe as “filthy” accommodation.

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With the opening just days away, the latest high-profile withdrawals include the English Olympic 400m gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu and world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu.

Australia has warned that more of its competitors may follow, after world discus champion Dani Samuels made a tearful withdrawal Tuesday.

The Scottish team's organising committee said Wednesday it will delay its team's departure to the Games due to concerns over the state of the athletes' village.

The Commonwealth Games Federation on Tuesday blasted the official accommodation as "uninhabitable" with rubble in doorways and malfunctioning toilets, along with urgent electrical and other problems.

The safety concerns come after a footbridge collapsed near one of the venues, injuring 27 workers.

There are also question marks over the event’s security after a gun attack on a tourist bus outside New Delhi, in which two Taiwanese nationals were hurt.

A home-grown Islamist group on claimed responsibility, with the incident prompting a number of Western countries to issue travel warnings.

Adding to the woes, the Indian capital is in the grip of an outbreak of dengue fever, caused by stagnant pools of water that have accumulated on construction sites for the Games.

India's media on Wednesday described the complaints over accommodation standards as a national embarrassment.

The Times of India newspaper said in a front-page editorial that “India has been shamed globally".

"The guilty must be identified and brought to book. It may not restore our reputation, but at least it will show that we, as a nation, value our honour," the paper said.

But Games organisers have downplayed all concerns, saying they still expect a “very good” field of athletes at the event, from 3-14 October.
 

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