Team England first to touch down in Delhi

England’s 22-member men’s hockey squad and lawn bowls teams landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday morning, though the news of the withdrawal of British cyclists Ian Stannard and Ben Swift, citing health and security, tempered the mood a bit.

However, the 47-member England squad did not move into the controversy-marred Games Village on the day as they opted to stay in the Taj Palace hotel in South Delhi. However, England’s chef de mission Craig Hunter said the decision to stay in a hotel was more of a precautionary nature, and the entire contingent will move into the Village on Monday.

“We certainly had some issues with the residential blocks in the Games Village and we had expressed our grave concern to the Organising Committee as well as the Commonwealth Games Federation. Mr (Mike) Fennell had made visit to the Village today and he also held a meeting with the chef de missions of various countries,” Hunter told Deccan Herald.

“Along with Fennell we also witnessed the progressing work in the Village and it’s quite happy to see some really significant improvements have been made from the last couple of days or so. I guess once the Delhi Government has taken over the command, things have a more settled look. But we will keep watching the progress for the next couple of days before shifting to the Village, probably on Monday,” Hunter added.

English athletes, currently based in a hotel, said they have been waiting for a final word from their team management and the CWG OC to move into the Village.

“Once we get a final word of assurance from the OC of the CWG, we are ready to move into the Village. But all these controversies have not shifted our focus away from the sport and we want to do well in the Games. I hope everything will be settled in the next few days and focus will return to sports,” Mark Bantock, an England lawn bowls team member from Berkshire, said.

Meanwhile, the first batch of the Scotland squad will arrive in the city on Saturday. The Scottish squad will consist of lawn bowls, archery, weightlifting, tennis and shooting.

“I am delighted that the Board has been able to confirm our intention to fly to the Games on Saturday as hoped,” Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said in a media statement. The teams of boxing, wrestling and rugby seven will board flights to Delhi on September 28, Cavanagh added in the statement.

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