The Commonwealth Games in India is in jeopardy as athletes pull out amid safety concerns and reports that competitors’ accommodation is not fit to live in.
Yesterday, a newly-built pedestrian suspension bridge collapsed at the main event venue Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, leaving at least 27 workers injured.
The Commonwealth Games suffered further embarrassment today when a false ceiling collapsed at the Weightlifting arena in the main stadium.
The athlete’s village has also come under fire with reports that it is not fit for human habitation. Only 18 of the 34 residential towers in the village, due to be opened tomorrow, are ready and rooms are said to be contaminated with excrement.
Athletes have begun pulling out of the Games. England’s world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu said: “Sorry people, but I have children to think about. My safety is more important to them than a medal.”
However, Britain and Australia have backed the Commonwealth Games.
Australian Sports Minister Mark Arbib today said hat he expects more athletes to pull out of the Commonwealth Games but that Australia is committed to taking part.
British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson also said Games organisers needed support rather than threats of withdrawal.
Timeline of Commonwealth Games in India problems
Security in India is on high alert after gunmen attack a bus carrying Sri Lanka’s cricket team outside a Lahore stadium in Pakistan, killing seven.
The shooting range is damaged by monsoon rains which also seep through the roof and walls of the swimming pool complex.
According to sports minister MS Gill the cost of staging the Games has escalated from 6.5 billion rupees ($142 million) to 115 billion.
Three senior Delhi Games officials are suspended over financial irregularities. The government’s anti-corruption watchdog claims there ate 16 projects where financial irregularities are suspected.
Although the Commonwealth Games are due to start in less than two months, much of venue is unfinished and in piles of rubble.
An outbreak of dengue fever is blamed on stagnant pools of water at construction sites that have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser tells her compatriots to boycott the event suggesting it could become “another Munich”, referring to the 1972 Olympics in which 11 Israeli team members were taken hostage and killed by Palestinian gunmen.
Scottish officials describe the athlete’s village as “unsafe and unfit for human habitation”.
Games ambassador Saina Nehwal, India’s most high-profile female athlete, says: “Looking at the stadiums and looking at the progress, I don’t really think we are capable of holding such big tournaments.”
Security fears again arise just 13 days before the Games as two foreign visitors are shot by suspected militants in Old Delhi.
The pedestrian footbridge being built just outside the main stadium collapses, injuring 27 people.
A false ceiling collapses at the Weightlifting arena of the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, which is the main event venue of the Commonwealth Games.