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New Delhi Games in doubt.

Collapse of bridge adds to fears that sports facilities will not be ready in time

Dubai The collapse of a footbridge near the main venue of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium yesterday, which injured 27 people, is only the latest in a series of events that have thrown the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in complete disarray.

It was a nightmarish day for the organisers, with Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell saying the Games village was "still not fit for accommodation", a view that was echoed by contingents from New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Ireland. A senior New Zealand delegate even suggested that the Games "may not happen".

"The problems are arising because deadlines for the completion of the village have been consistently pushed out. Now, the high security around the site, while vital, is slowing progress and complicating solutions," Fennell added in a statement.

Meanwhile, New Zealand team manager Dave Currie told radio network newstalkZB that New Delhi organisers "are in severe difficulties", identifying problems with cleanliness, plumbing, electrical wiring, internet access and mobile phone coverage.

The New Zealand delegate went to the extent of saying that the event may not go ahead as only 18 of 34 residential towers at the village have been completed. "If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that [the event] is not going to happen," Currie said.

Currie's fears were echoed by Australia's chef de mission, retired marathon runner Steve Moneghetti, after he held talks with Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite, who had checked into the village.

Moneghetti told reporters in Melbourne that Indian organisers "have got two days to do what's probably going to take about two weeks".

The delays in construction have been overshadowed recently by safety concerns, heightened last weekend after two unidentified gunmen shot and wounded two tourists near the Jama Masjid.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is scheduled to take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on October 3.

-- With inputs ?from agencies

See also Page 41


Troubles compounded

A pedestrian bridge that was under construction near New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, lies in ruins after collapsing yesterday.

If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that [the event] is not going to happen."

Dave Currie

New Zealand team manager

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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