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Kalmadi apologises to 'treated like cattle' Aussies

AFP  New Delhi, October 05, 2010
First Published: 13:22 IST(5/10/2010) | Last Updated: 13:40 IST(5/10/2010)

Under-fire Commonwealth Games organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi was forced to apologise on Tuesday after Australia claimed its athletes were "treated like cattle" at the opening ceremony.

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Australian team chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said his athletes were forced to wait in a tunnel in 40-plus degree conditions to march in Sunday's opening ceremony, and they may boycott future ceremonies.

He claimed the health of the athletes was at risk in such conditions.

"It was over 40 degrees without a doubt. We were treated like cattle. It was disgraceful," he told Australian Associated Press.

"I was very, very disappointed with the way that the event staff conducted the ceremony and with total disregard for athlete welfare.

"The athletes have lost confidence with the event organisers.

"It will impact on future Australian athletes' involvement at the opening ceremony."

Kalmadi, the face of the Games who was booed at the opening ceremony after a shambolic lead-up to the 11-day event, admitted it could have been organised better.

"Yes, I think something was wrong and we will correct it for the closing ceremony," he said at a press conference. "I'd like to apologise."

A catalogue of problems in the lead-up to the Games embarrassed India, but the widely-applauded opening ceremony restored some pride.


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