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Games Village not ready despite the tall claims
« on: September 25, 2010, 03:59:53 PM »

Games Village not ready despite the tall claims

New Delhi: Even as the controversy-hit Commonwealth Games finally began to look up on Friday, with the arrival of the first batch of foreign athletes from England, the living conditions at the Games Village remained far below the desired level, despite all the tall claims by the authorities.

While the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president, Mike Fennell issued a statement saying he was happy with the progress made by the organisers in cleaning up the residential zone, the reality at the Village remained somewhat different.

The authorities, on their part, tried their best to hide the fact that the major part of the Village was not yet ready to welcome nearly 7000 athletes and officials from 71 countries.

In doing so, strict orders were issued not to allow newsmen beyond the media centre and the International Zone. Even at these two points, media are allowed only for a specified period of time.

Several people in the Indian contingent, however, revealed that the scenario beyond the swanky International Zone was not as bright as was being projected by the organisers.

“The rooms that have been allotted to us at the residential area are certainly better than what we had at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006,” said an athlete.

“The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are fitted with modern gadgets. Yet, we are facing more problems here than anywhere else.

“There is leakage in many of the bathrooms,” the athlete said.

“The rooms are also full of mosquitoes, especially at night. The stairs of most of the blocks have not been cleaned up yet,” he added.

In fact, the Indian table tennis and archery squads have already been shifted to different floors after both complained of lack of facilities in their rooms.

To overcome the problems and take care of the Village housekeeping, the Delhi Government has hired the services of three major hotel chains in the capital.

The Delhi Government, which has taken over the control of the Village since Thursday, also launched a drive to catch the stray dogs in and around the Village.

According to a senior Delhi Government official, more than 200 dogs have already been captured. While the official said a few NGOs would take care of the dogs, the brutal method employed by the dogcatchers in full public view has raised many eyebrows.

The 21-member England squad, which arrived on Thursday morning, chose to check into a city hotel rather than going to the Village. England chef de mission Craig Hunter made it clear that they would wait until the Village was ready.

“Till then, we will set up our athletes in local hotels,” he said.

Fennell on his part said: “The briefing I received from my CEO, Mike Hooper, last night (Thursday), was that considerable improvements have been made within the Village, with further significant resources deployed by Delhi chief minister, Mrs. (Sheila) Dik*, to make good what was a situation worth concern.”

The CGF chief held a two-hour long meeting with OC officials and chefs de mission of some other countries at the Village and inspected the residential wings, but refused to say anything.

Despite the mess, there were smiles on the faces of the OC officials on Friday after Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) chief executive Perry Crosswhite said he was happy with the facilities at the Games Village that was earlier termed “filthy” and “unliveable” by the delegates.

“We are quite happy with the Village and we are looking forward to the Games. The Australian contingent is coming. Absolutely, it’s a thumbs up to the Games,” Crosswhite said.
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