Snake run causes Games stir

Snake run causes Games stir

More foreign athletes quit as Hooper hangs Delhi

Snake run causes Games stir

A snake was found in a room in the residential towers, earmarked for the South African athletes, High Commissioner Harris Mbulelo Mejeke told reporters. “We found a snake but I don’t know whether it was an Indian snake. That was a threat to the lives of our athletes.
Very disappointing. Basically, the basement was full of water and the staircase was also damp,” Mejeke said. The South African envoy, however, said the team would not withdraw from the controversy-marred event.

Sunday also saw high-profile athletes—Scottish tennis star Elena Baltacha, ranked 50th in the world, Australian cyclist Travis Meyer, table tennis player Stephanie Sang and Malaysian sprinter Siti Zubaidah Adabi—exiting the Games, citing health and security concerns.

Just a day after Commonwealth Games Federation boss Mike Fennell spoke about sharing the blame for Delhi’s shoddy preparations, its CEO Mike Hooper sang a different tune saying the CGF cannot be held responsible for the OC’s failure to meet deadlines.

“We’re at the hands and the mercy of, effectively, the Government of India, the Delhi government and the agencies responsible for delivery of the venues,” he said.

Hooper’s outburst did not go down well with the OC or the Centre that called the attack completely unacceptable.

The New Zealander has been in the country for the last three years to oversee the event.

There was some good news, however, with England’s delegation checking in at the Village before their athletes’ arrival on Monday. A group of 20 support staff were the first occupants of the accommodation to ensure that conditions were alright for their sportspersons. England Chef de Mission Craig Hunter said, “It’s exciting but also a relief to be able to occupy our accommodation.”

The Games Village continued to be a target of criticism with Malaysia and Botswana complaining of lack of cleanliness in the residential complexes. “There are lot of construction materials lying in our rooms. Besides filthy bed sheets, bathroom fittings do not work. They are not clean,” Chef De Mission of Botswana Tuelo Daniel Seruftho said.

Denying the allegations, the OC officials claimed everything was in order. “We have received complaints related to lack of cleanliness from certain blocks that are being looked into,” said Dalbir Singh, mayor of the Games Village.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also inspected the Village and stayed for about 90 minutes to take stock of the progress of the house-keeping work at the Village, criticised as “filthy and unlivable” by many foreign delegates.

“We only saw the coordination among all the agencies involved in different works here.
We also checked food and recreational facilities. The quality of food is excellent,” she said.

Yet the officials looking after maintenance work at the complex indicated there were “severe problems” in over 100 apartments that could take couple of days to set right. “The Village has 1,168 apartments spread across 34 towers and there have been major problems in electrical and water connections in over 100 apartments,” top officials said.

The Indian team, too, faced problems at the Village, with the marksmen who arrived from Pune on Saturday night made to wait for over five hours to get their accommodation. Earlier, the boxers had complained of a similar experience.

Security arrangements had their share of hiccups with availability of just one central point for both Indian and international athletes.

Officials have missed at least five deadlines for handing over the stadium to Delhi Police.

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