Saturday 16 December 2017

Race is on to meet deadline for India games clean-up

Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi

India last night promised to have the athletes' housing for the Commonwealth Games cleaned up by tomorrow.

Officials said that workers were labouring at double time to have facilities ready for the October 3 opening ceremony.

The games aimed to improve India's image as a rising power -- but criticism of shoddy construction, dirty housing and security fears have instead raised questions about Asia's third-largest economy.

Nearly all of the 1,500 athletes who had arrived in New Delhi by yesterday were staying at the athletes' village, the last big unfinished venue.

Many members of the more than 20 teams in Delhi have praised their facilities as "roomy and clean", but other delegations have encountered problems, including Scotland's team.

A snake was found in the room of a South African athlete and about 150 flats are still considered to be unhygienic, despite a weekend drive by workers to overcome problems.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the village, where 8,000 athletes will stay, would be ready on Wednesday.

About 20 athletes, including world champion sprinter Usain Bolt, have pulled out of the games.

Analysts say if the Delhi Games turn out to be a fiasco, it may be hard to persuade sponsors, TV companies, media and athletes that the games deserve attention in the future.

Irish Independent

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