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Games chief in Delhi as ceiling collapses

The head of the Commonwealth Games has rushed to New Delhi for emergency talks as a ceiling collapsed in one of the venues.

There has been widespread anger over India’s last-minute preparations for the event, due to start in little more than a week.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell has requested a meeting with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Fennell’s arrival comes as organisers struggle to cope with unfinished buildings, a filthy athletes’ village – where excrement was found in some rooms – a bridge collapse, an outbreak of dengue fever and numerous other problems.

Today, part of a ceiling inside the weightlifting venue collapsed.

The Games, which bring together more than 7,000 athletes from the 71 countries and territories from the former British empire every four years, was supposed to showcase India as an emerging power in the international community. Instead, it has become a major embarrassment.

Athletes were due to begin arriving tomorrow in the games village, which international sports officials have called unfinished, dirty, hobbled by numerous infrastructure problems and even “unsafe and unfit for human habitation”.

Scotland’s team announced today that it would delay its travel to New Delhi.

Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said: “It’s just filthy. It hasn’t been cleaned.”

He said the problems had prompted Fennell to travel to New Delhi far earlier than he had to previous games.

His emergency trip “emphasises that this is an important issue and we obviously need to engage at the highest level to get it fixed”, said Hooper.

New Delhi has been a frenzy of activity in recent weeks, as the city struggles to ready itself for the Games, which begin on 3 October. The city has had seven years to prepare, though very little work was done until 2008.

Yesterday, hours after games officials criticised the organisers for the condition of the athletes’ village, a 90-yard pedestrian bridge leading from a car park to the games’ main stadium collapsed, injuring 27 construction workers, five critically.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Come on India, show some signs of improvement according to your internation image at least, remove all those stupid OC members and just show some professionalism, this is ridiculous, you have to do your own job My politicians and beaureacrats and just not sit and loot common people of their money and pride.
    Manoj

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  • I travelled to India in 1992. It is no wonder to see problems. Although India is a wonderful mess and relies upon carbon paper to keep it going !,it just doesn't have the infrastructure processes to create such a venue for the commonwealth games,come on, there are still elephants and vultures in the road, we ran over one ! vulture that is)

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