Sports minister urges support for Commonwealth Games

Robertson says it would be a 'tragedy' if teams refuse to travel to India

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has said it would be "an utter tragedy" if the Commonwealth Games do not go ahead in New Delhi next month but remains confident the event will take place.

Fears have been raised that the Games, which has 6,500 athletes taking part, could have to be cancelled due to shocking conditions in the athletes' village that has left the facilities branded unfit for human habitation. To make matters worse, a number of workers were taken to hospital yesterday when a 100m bridge linking a car park to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – the main venue for the Games – collapsed while it was being completed.

Robertson, who will spend several days in Delhi next month, said Games organisers needed support – and not threats by teams that they might withdraw. The minister said: "It would be an utter tragedy if anything went wrong at the last moment but I have had no indication that this will not go ahead and I expect it to do so. They need support and understanding and for people to back their Games, it is not helpful to just throw your hands in the air.

"We are in a fevered media environment and it's important that one takes a sensible and strategic long-term view. There is nothing that I have seen or heard that suggests these are problems that cannot be sorted out. I expect our teams will turn up in Delhi and that the Games will go ahead as planned."

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