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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Fertility Nurse

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash