Scotland confirm Commonwealth participation

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The Independent Online

Team Scotland have announced that the first group of Scottish athletes will fly out to the Commonwealth Games tomorrow.

The decision comes after team officials reported back from Delhi that progress is being made on improvements to the athletes village.

Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: "I am delighted that the board has been able to confirm our intention to fly to the Games on Saturday as hoped.

"There will undoubtedly be challenges ahead in Delhi, but we are confident that these can be effectively managed by our team management, who have done a fantastic job over the last week to ensure we could get to this position."

Scottish lawn bowler, Willie Wood, due to compete in his eighth Commonwealth Games, said: "I am absolutely delighted to hear that we will be travelling to Delhi tomorrow as planned. It's great to see that things have moved on significantly from the start of the week, and I can now focus on competing for Scotland at my eighth Commonwealth Games."

The Team Scotland sports teams due to travel tomorrow are archery, lawn bowls, shooting, tennis and weightlifting. The teams who were due to travel yesterday - rugby sevens, boxing and wrestling - are now expected to fly out on Tuesday.

The England team announced last night they will send a full team to Delhi while Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said he had been heartened by the "considerable improvements" made to the facilities.

New Zealand officials have also confirmed their team will compete and Australia are preparing to receive their athletes in the village.

Fennell insists the picture now looks far brighter.

He told the federation's website: "It is good to be in Delhi, and the briefing I've received from my CEO, Mike Hooper, last night, was that considerable improvements have been made within the village, with further significant resources deployed by Delhi Chief Minister, Mrs Dikshit, to make good what was a concerning situation."

Fears had been raised that the Games may be boycotted or cancelled due to "filthy" conditions in the athletes village, followed by the collapse of a bridge between a parking area and the main stadium and the partial collapse of a ceiling in the weightlifting arena.

Fennell added: "I am certainly pleased to arrive in Delhi to the news that Australia has moved into the village ready for the arrival of their athletes, and with the confirmation late yesterday that England and Wales will be on their way to Delhi shortly."