Commonwealth Games: Scotland delays departure over facilities fears

Scotland has delayed their departure to the troubled Commonwealth Games in New Delhi due to fears about the state of the athletes’ village, their organising committee said on Wednesday.

The first party of 41 athletes were due to travel out to the October 3 to 14 multi-sport event on Thursday, but now say they will delay their departure to India “by a few days”.

Scotland team managers have been shocked by the state of the athletes’ village, calling their allocated accommodation blocks “unsafe and unfit for human habitation”.

“By delaying the arrival of our athletes by a few days, we hope to give the Delhi 2010 Organising Committee the necessary time to address the concerns that have been raised,” Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman Michael Cavanagh said.

He demanded “urgent action” on the situation, while insisting that Scotland were still set on competing in the Games.

“We have discussed this with the sports involved and are in agreement that this is the best course of action under the circumstances,” he said.

“Whilst this is an untimely alteration to their (the competitors’) plans, it will ultimately cause less disruption to their final training and preparation than if they were to arrive in the Games Village which is not yet fit for purpose and fully functional.

“Scotland is hugely committed to the Commonwealth Games.

“Our team on the ground will continue to monitor the situation, however we will not compromise on areas of athlete health, safety and security.

“We need urgent action from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Delhi Organising Committee to address these crucial issues.”

Top athletes are individually snubbing the Games because of safety fears, while complaints of filthy accommodation have left the event in crisis and India facing national humiliation.

The pullouts come after complaints about the state of the athletes’ village, safety fears due to the collapse of a footbridge near one of the venues and question marks over security after a gun attack on tourists.

Scotland is due to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.