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Canada express serious concern about CWG opening ceremony

Canada today expressed serious concerns about their athltes's "well-being being compromised" due to heat factor and logistic issues during Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in New Delhi tomorrow and said the matter has been taken up at the level of CGF President Mike Fennell.

delhi Updated: Oct 02, 2010 19:16 IST

Canada on Saturday expressed serious concerns about their athltes's "well-being being compromised" due to heat factor and logistic issues during Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in New Delhi tomorrow and said the matter has been taken up at the level of CGF President Mike Fennell.

Commonwealth Games Canada President Andrew Pipe told PTI that he and the officials here would not do anything which could affect the "well being" of the athletes though he said "as of now" his country would take part in the opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

"We are concerned of how long our athletes will be out of the Games Village, how long they will stand during the ceremony under this (high) temperature, what are the arrangements for food, drinks and public conveniences to be provided on them. These are very fundamental issues though it happened in every opening ceremony of any big sporting event," he said.

"We are also concerned that the shelter for so many athletes taking part in the ceremony before and after the march past ceremony is small as far as we gather. We have raised all these questions during the chefs de missions meeting on Saturday. Other countries, including England and Australia, have also raised the issue.

"CGF chief Fennell has assured us that the issues will be sorted out by today itself. The Organising Committee has also assured us the matter will be sorted out," he added.

Pipe, however, denied that the Canadian contingent would not participate in the opening ceremony as has been reported in the British media.

"As of now we are taking part in the opening ceremony. We don't want to do anything which will bring peril to the Commonwealth Games as we consider Commonwealth Games as part of our sporting culture as Canada were among those countries which gave the idea of these Games and we hosted the first edition in Hamilton in 1930.

"But at the same time the well being of the athletes are paramount and that cannot be compromised," he added.

Canada were one of the vocal critics over the "unlivable" conditions at the Athletes' Village of the crisis-hit Games and Pope said the pressure by some countries had "influenced" the urgency shown by the Indian authorities in cleaning up the residential blocks and now the living condition in the Village is what it should be.

"The pressure paid off. It influenced the urgency among the Indian politicians and the Organising Committee. We had been telling the CGF that there were some areas of concern and it was fortunate that lots of things have been left for the eleventh hour.

"Having said that I am sure the Games will turn out out to be successful. At the end of the day, the Canadians will have happy memories of these Games in terms of the facilities, the people of India and the medals won by our athletes," he said.