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Tension in the air as the Games limp on

other Updated: Sep 23, 2010 00:24 IST
HT Correspondent

Even as the various government agencies and Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) burn midnight oil to salvage the situation at the Games Village, scathing criticism from participating countries --- notably Britain, Canada, Scotland and New Zealand --- is becoming too hot to handle for the people who promised an event of a lifetime.

Already hit by a spate of pullouts --- the latest being the withdrawal of star England athletes, Christine Ohuruogu, Lisa Dobriskey and Phillips Idowu ---- the Games seem headed for chaos with top-ranking officials, chefs de mission and Commonwealth Games heads of various countries seeking assurances on security, living conditions at the Village and much more.

The biggest setback, however, is the news that the chairman of Commonwealth Games, Scotland, has delayed the departure of the team till the conditions are favourable and Canada is reconsidering whether to send its athletes to Delhi. The chairman of the England team, Andrew Foster, too indicated that, "all options remain open", adding that a "final decision would have to be made over the next few days".

"We wouldn't put (the athletes) in the village," said Canada's chef de mission, Martha Deacon, adding that she was "reviewing" whether or not to send the athletes.

Former world and defending Commonwealth Games champion in triple jump, Idowu tweeted on Wednesday that his safety was more important than winning a medal.

The chairman of Commonwealth Games, Scotland, Michael Kavanagh, while announcing the decision to delay the departure of athletes, said, "We decided to delay the first flight of our athletes. We are not prepared to compromise on the health and safety of our athletes."

The Deputy Prime Minister of UK, Nick Clegg, has left it to the athletes whether they want to participate in the quadrennial event or not. "It's for the athletes to decide themselves whether they do want to attend or not," said Clegg.

While Delhi grapples with incessant rain and a Yamuna in spate, there is another barrage waiting to be unleashed on the National Capital. And this one might sweep the Games away.