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Canada happy with progress; athletes to reach Sunday

world Updated: Sep 24, 2010 11:14 IST

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Canadian officials, who delayed the departure of their athletes for the Commonwealth Games, on Thursday expressed satisfaction with progress being made at the athletes' village and expected the event to take place as scheduled.

Canadian athletes are now scheduled to begin arriving in Delhi on Sunday, CTV news channel reported.

If the progress are sustained, the Commonwealth Games will be held without any further setbacks, the TV channel quoted Scott Stevenson, director of Sport for Commonwealth Games Canada, as saying from New Delhi.

He said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has brought "a change in the culture of preparations" by bringing in her own staff, including engineers, to manage the project.

"These employees were given the authority to act, to decide upon the things that needs to get done in concert with us and ensure all the necessary equipment and man power would be on site to accomplish that task,'' Stevenson said.

"We are starting to now be in a better position to turn our focus toward sport again, which is really exciting because it is what most of us are all about,'' he said.

Andrew Pipe, president of Commonwealth Games Canada, also welcomed the intervention of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who held an emergency meeting with Sports Minister MS Gill, Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and seniors officials Thursday to fix the problems.

"What you are seeing is now, for the first time, the injection or projection of significant political leadership in the organization of the Games. Frankly, this is leadership that has been lacking,'' he said.

Canada onWednesday told its athletes, including the women's field hockey team, to delay leaving for Delhi because of "unlivable" conditions at the sports village. Two Canadian archers also dropped out of the Games for security reasons.

The women's field hockey team, who wanted to be in Delhi much before the start of the Games to get acclimatized to the weather and time difference, are now preparing in Vancouver.