Just as things were beginning to look up for the crisis-hit Commonwealth Games, fresh criticism hit the Games Village with South African envoy in New Delhi claiming that a snake was found in one of the rooms even as four more top athletes today pulled out of the mega event.
A snake was found in a room in the residential towers, earmarked for the South African athletes, High Commissioner Harris Mbulelo Mejeke told reporters.
"We can't go and stay till things are fixed up. We have very grave concerns. If snakes are found we can't ask our teams to stay there. Yesterday we found a snake but I don't know whether it was an Indian snake. But it was there in one of our rooms," Mejeke said before entering the Village.
"That was a threat to the lives of our athletes. Very disappointing. Basically, the basement was full of water and the staircase was also damp," he said.
However, the South African envoy said there team will not withdraw from the controversy-marred event.
Citing and health and security concerns, Scottish tennis star Elena Baltacha, ranked 50th in the world, withdrew along with Australian cyclist Travis Meyer, table tennis player Stephanie Sang and Malaysian sprinter Siti Zubaidah Adabi.
Adding to the misery of the organisers, the Malaysian and Botswanian teams complained about the poor state of the residential blocks.
A day after Commonwealth Games Federation boss Mike Fennell spoke about sharing the blame for Delhi's shoddy preparations, its CEO Mike Hooper sang a different tune saying the CGF cannot be held responsible for the Organising Committee's failure to meet deadlines.
Launching a fresh offensive against the OC, with which he has had a strained equation, Hooper said even the government agencies in India did not act in time and delayed the handing over of the venues.
"We're at the hands and the mercy of, effectively, the Government of India, the Delhi government, the agencies responsible for delivery of the venues. They consistently failed to meet deadlines," he said.
However, Hooper's outburst did not go down well with the OC or the government which called the attack completely unacceptable. The New Zealander has been in the country for the last three years to oversee the event.
There was some good news as well with England's delegation checking in at the Village to do the groundwork for their athletes' arrival tomorrow.
A group of around 20 support staff were the first occupants of the accommodation to ensure that conditions continue to be on track for 48 athletes from the sports of hockey (32), lawn bowls (12) and shooting (4) to move in on Monday.