Northen Ireland confirm participation

The Board members of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council met yesterday and "endorsed the team's attendance at the Games" after seeing progress being made by the organisers to improve conditions at Village.

"This decision was based upon the most recent information supplied by the Council's representatives in India together with their recommendation," NICGC said in a statement. "Assurances have been received that the athletes' village will be in suitable condition to host the Northern Ireland team when they arrive on Tuesday 28th. Based upon these assurances, the Council is pleased to endorse the decision that the team will depart for Delhi as planned," it added.

The council also said that sporting event is a chance for Northern Ireland's athletes to perform on the international stage and every effort has been made to ensure that this opportunity is grasped.

"The recent events have caused alarm and created difficulties for many of the competing nations but our focus is now on the presentation of Team Northern Ireland at the Games," the council said. Australia, New Zealand and Wales have also confirmed their participation in the Games, the build-up of which has been marred by various problems ranging from an attack on a tourist bus and shoddy preparations.

Northern Ireland's Chef de mission Robert McVeigh expressed satisfaction at the progress the oraganisers have made ever since the filthy conditions at the Village came to light. "The initial impression from our officials was good regarding the international zone, the dining area and the food. Transport lanes are in place and they had a brief look at the accommodation in tower block three which looked acceptable, but needed a really good clean-up.

"What they have done is they have brought in managers from five star hotels to supervise cleaning teams," he said.

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