Athletes pull out of Commonwealth Games in India

As fears grow over accommodation, construction and security, more competitors pull out of India's Commonwealth Games.

A growing number of competitors are putting off traveling to the Commonwealth Games in India to enable organisers to frantically finish preparations for the event.

The games were set to showcase India’s emergence as a regional powerhouse, but a poll by the Hindustan Times newspaper suggested 68% of residents surveyed in New Delhi were actually ashamed of the games.

In addition to the collapse of the footbridge leading to the main stadium, organisers have struggled with an outbreak of dengue fever and security fears after the shooting of two tourists outside one of the city’s top attractions on Sunday.

Despite these set backs, the games chief executive, Mike Hooper remained positive saying: ‘There has been improvement each day. There is more to do.’

But many countries remain concerned. Australia’s Olympic chief announced today that the Commonwealth Games should never have been awarded to India.

‘I don’t think it is a cultural thing,’ he said. ‘When you agree to host the Games you are required to provide the basics in terms of health and hygiene for the athletes.’

Greg Henderson became the first athlete to withdraw from the New Zealand squad over concerns about health and safety.

The Olympic gold medalist Geraint Thomas and three other Welsh riders have also opted out of the games, which are due to commence on 3rd October.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell was due to arrive in India on an emergency visit to meet with top Indian officials to discuss the problems.

‘Everybody wants to make this work, and everyone is working together to make this happen,’ Hooper concluded.

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