Massive clean-up saves Games for India as key nations get back on track

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Hundreds of extra workers sent to Delhi ahead of teams' arrival

India appeared to have narrowly escaped its Commonwealth Games crisis last night as a number of key nations took a leap of faith and committed themselves to flying to Delhi and participating in the competition.

While intense concerns remained both over security and the conditions inside the athletes' village – images released yesterday from inside the apartments showed filthy bathrooms and stained bedspreads – the English and Welsh teams announced they would be participating.

The Scottish squad said it had been heartened by developments in India over the past 48 hours and is this morning expected to announce it will travel to India. A reported 1,500 workers have been sent to the Games village to clean up the accommodation blocks that that the Scottish team had previously described as "unfit for human habitation".

An advance party of the English team was due to arrive in Delhi last night while Kenya announced its 240-strong squad would start arriving from tomorrow, having received security assurances from the Indian authorities. South African athletes are also coming to India as scheduled.

England's team organisers said in a statement last night that their concerns were being met, meaning that the athletes would travel: "Commonwealth Games England and its 17 member sports today unanimously agreed that they will go to the Delhi Games."

A spokesman for the Scottish team, Jon Doig said: "We are heartened that [Delhi chief minister] Sheila Dikshit has personally taken control of the situation and ensuring that the necessary additional resources are brought in, including support from the Delhi hoteliers association to address standards of cleanliness and hygiene and oversee quality control."

He added: "Things are looking much better. Therefore subject to a number of assurances from the organising committee being realised over the next 24 hours, we feel we will be in a position to confirm [on Friday] that our team will travel as scheduled on Saturday."

The Wales team said: "We are confident in the assurances that have been provided. The advance party will now be moving into our accommodation and we look forward to welcoming our athletes in the coming days."

Ten days before the games are due to start there is lots that could still go wrong. Another accident like the collapsing footbridge this week or an incident like the shooting of two foreign tourists last weekend, could yet persuade many individual athletes, or even entire teams, not to participate.

Security remains a major concern. Bob Nicholls, a South African security specialist who has worked with the Indian Premier League cricket tournament and who will be advising organisers of the cricket world cup in India next year, said the longer work took to complete the facilities the more difficult it was to secure them. "Security is one aspect of the Games that has been a concern all along. You can only create a sterile zone once all the building work is completed and the delays make it very, very difficult to do that.

"It is more difficult to keep it secure when you have large numbers of people coming in and out of the venues," he said. "Because of what the games represent, they are always going to be a potential target. Wherever it is held there will be a certain threat level." Asked about the scale of the security problem, he replied: "It will be a huge challenge."

A number of training areas and reception facilities also remain incomplete and so-called "beautification", the effort to smarten up those parts of Delhi most likely to be seen by visitors, is way off schedule. Yet the fear that the games themselves could be cancelled appears to have eased. Taken collectively, the individual threats raised by various countries that they might cancel their involvement appears to have kicked the very highest levels of the Indian establishment into action.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night chaired an emergency meeting of his cabinet while Commonwealth Games Federation chairman, Mike Fennell, arrived in the city for meetings.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress among those on 'master list' of massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Upper KS2 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Upper KS2 Primary Teacher...

KS1 Float Teacher

£90 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay : Randstad Education Southampton: ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Trainee Recruitmen...

KS1 Primary Teacher in Bradford

£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: KS1 Primary Teacher in Br...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor