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Canadian athletes to delay travel to Commonwealth Games

In Canada on September 22, 2010 at 10:59
Back to Canadian athletes to delay travel to Commonwealth Games

Canadian athletes to delay travel to Commonwealth Games

September 22, 2010

Rick Westhead

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This file photo from Sept. 5 the waterlogged weightlifting stadium, one of the venues for the Commonwealth Games, in New Delhi, India, where part of a drop ceiling collapsed today.

Anupam Nath/AP FILE PHOTO

NEW DELHI—Canadian athletes preparing to travel to India to compete in the Commonwealth Games will be told to delay their departure from Canada.

The first group of athletes, including field hockey players, were scheduled to leave Canada tomorrowfor New Delhi, a week before the Games begin on Oct. 3.

But the athletes village here where the 255 Canadian athletes, and coaches and trainers will live during the two-week competition, still isn’t in livable condition. A source told the Star Canadian staff touring the athletes village on Wednesday discovered rooms blanketed in construction dust with bathtub and shower taps hanging loosely from sockets in unworkable conditions. In some rooms, there are pools of water under beds.

Not only would that make things uncomfortable, it would also present a legal liability issue for Canadian Games organizers.

Canada is expected to announce its decision later Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Scotland announced it would similarly tell athletes and coaches to postpone their travel to India. Athletes will be told not to arrive here before Sept. 28, two days after mission staff begin arriving.

Several western diplomats said Canada and other countries are probably worried about a political backlash from India if they decide to abandon the Games. China, India’s regional rival, advanced its international standing by hosting a successful Summer Olympics two years ago. Many Indians were hoping the Commonwealth Games would give their own country a public-relations boost.

Political analysts said Canada-India ties probably wouldn’t be bruised if Canada withdraws from the Games.

“No one at this stage is looking to blame the whistleblower,” said Salman Haidar, a former deputy minister in the Indian foreign ministry.

“India is really blaming itself at the moment. Some people might say that it would be better if Canada and other countries indulged us and participated, but I don’t think it would be a bilateral issue that would hang around for very long.”

hmmm Could have had the games in Hamilton… oh well

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