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Wait and see!

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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WHILE THERE IS concern about reports of “unhygienic and uninhabitable” conditions at the athletes’ village in Delhi where the Commonwealth Games will be held next month, the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) says there is no need to panic.
BOA secretary general Erskine Simmons told MIDWEEK SPORT yesterday that the 60-member Barbados contingent won’t reach India until next Wednesday for the October 3 to 14 Games.
By that time, Simmons said, he was hopeful that all the issues and concerns would be resolved and the facilities and residential area for the athletes would be brought up to world-class standard and be “just as nice or even better than at the Beijing Olympics”.
“Fortunately for us, we don’t arrive until September 29. Hopefully, by then the areas of concerns would be dealt with, as we don’t want our athletes going somewhere that is not sanitary,” he said.
Simmons added that the BOA would be getting a first-hand report on the conditions by Friday from Barbados’ chef de mission Cammie Burke, who is leaving the island today, well ahead of the athletes.
On the ground
“He is going in ahead of schedule to put things in place and look at the rooms and also training schedules for the athletes.
“Once he gets on the ground, he will report to us and tell us what measures need to be put in place.”
Some team delegates have described the accommodation as “filthy, unhygienic and unfit for human habitation”, with the Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell demanding that the Indian government take immediate steps to improve the conditions.
The Indian media reported yesterday that only 18 of the residential towers at the Games Village are complete, prompting New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Northern Ireland to ask that their teams stay in hotels if their accommodation was not ready.
Fennell noted that “many issues remain unresolved” as the athletes’ village was “seriously compromised”.
Simmons said the BOA was monitoring the situation as the majority of the Barbadian athletes are due to leave for the Games next Monday.
“The health of our athletes is paramount and we must ensure that they are as comfortable as possible so that they can prepare for and compete at the international level,” he said.
According to reports, toilets in the village were leaking and did not flush, while there were piles of building debris in bathrooms, plus concerns about “plumbing, electrical and other operational details”.
But Delhi Games organising committee vice-chairman Randhir Singh has maintained that the facilities will be excellent and everything would be ready on time.
“I can assure everyone there is no cause for worry . . . . We are working round the clock to take care of any problems. When the athletes arrive here, they will find an excellent facility,” he said.
There have also been safety concerns surrounding the Games, heightened last weekend when gunmen shot and wounded two visitors near Delhi’s Jama Masjid, one of India’s biggest mosques.