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England arrive, drive straight to hotels

They came, they walked into the team bus and headed straight to five-star hotels on Friday morning. The first batch of English athletes for the Commonwealth Games kept their date with New Delhi, arriving by an Air India flight at 10:55 a.m. but decided to take the bus to the swanky hotels rather than the Games Village.

other Updated: Sep 25, 2010 02:55 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

They came, they walked into the team bus and headed straight to five-star hotels on Friday morning. The first batch of English athletes for the Commonwealth Games kept their date with New Delhi, arriving by an Air India flight at 10:55 a.m. but decided to take the bus to the swanky hotels rather than the Games Village.

HT has learnt that the 22-member hockey and lawn bowls contingent, which became the first overseas team to arrive for the mega event, was taken to Hotel Taj Ambassador and Aman Hotel on Lodhi Road, where suites had already been booked. The skipper of the men's hockey team, Barry Middleton, refused to comment on either his team's preparations or the controversy surrounding its arrival, at the hotel.

Earlier Caroline Searle, spokeswoman for the team, said the contingent was looking forward to participating in the quadrennial event. “We are very tired at the moment, but the athletes are extremely excited to be in India. It is a first for some of us and we are looking forward to the event.”

Despite the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president, Mike Fennell's statement that considerable improvement had been made in the Village, the contingent is expected to stay in the hotels for at least a couple of days. “The decision to shift to the Village will be made by the contingent in consultation with our chef de mission. They will visit the Village tomorrow (Saturday) to take a look though,” said a press official with the English Commonwealth Federation.

Sources also told HT that a contingent of weightlifting and long jump athletes would join their teammates at the hotels on Saturday. A number of rooms have been booked at the Taj for the hockey team, while the booking office at Aman Hotel informed that four suites had been reserved for the lawn bowls team.

PTI ADDS: India's star tennis player Sania Mirza said the game of tennis has “enough depth” to negate the absence of star players. “I can assure you that at least in a global sport like tennis, the depth is tremendous.”