Delhi Games State of Unreadiness

September 22, 2010

The Athletes’ Village is not only at the heart of any Commonwealth Games, but is fundamental to the staging of the event.

The specification for the Village set by Delhi 2010 promised to be of the highest standard surpassing anything that had gone before. However on arrival in Delhi on Thursday last week (16 September), Team Scotland officials found that building works had fallen seriously behind schedule and that its allocated accommodation blocks were far from finished and in their view, unsafe and unfit for human habitation.

After representation to the Organising Committee (OC) Scotland was reallocated finished accommodation, but which still required serious cleaning and maintenance to bring it up to the necessary Games ready standards. This has now been largely addressed by the Scotland team management, cleaning the seven story tower block from top to bottom themselves with assistance from Delhi Games volunteers. However many of the other blocks in the Residential Zone still remain in a highly unsatisfactory state.

Scotland is one of six countries that has arrived in Delhi at the earliest opportunity to set up its Team HQ along with England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. During the last few days, despite repeated promises, only slow progress has been made, to the extent that there are now grave concerns as to whether the Village as a whole will meet the health and safety standards required to host all 71 CGAs and their 6,500 team members, which are due to start arriving on 23 September.

Yesterday in Delhi, Team Scotland Chef de Mission Jon Doig met jointly with his counterparts and the High Commissioners of their respective countries to try and bring pressure to bear on the Delhi 2010 Organising Committee through the Indian Government, to respond immediately to address the issues. Representation was also made to the Commonwealth Games Federation to make a realistic decision as to at what point and under what conditions they would determine whether the Games will be able to go ahead should the Village issues not be resolved.

Commonwealth Games Scotland is pleased that the Commonwealth Games Federation has now responded and formally written to the Indian Cabinet Secretary to express their concern and to request immediate action.

“We will continue to work closely with the organisers, to do everything possible to ensure that a satisfactory solution can be achieved for the benefit of all 71 competing countries”, said Chef de Mission Jon Doig.

“Whilst we are a considerable way down the track to resolving our own specific accommodation issues, moving those arriving first has simply pushed the problems further down the line. The other countries will be arriving soon and the organisers will simply be overwhelmed by the volume of the problems they face unless they take action now. Those countries already here have articulated this at the highest level.

“We will continue to monitor the situation before determining our next response. At this point we are planning for full participation in the Games and sincerely hope that the outstanding issues can be resolved, however we will not compromise on issues of health, safety and security.”

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