On a day when athletes participating in the Commonwealth Games start arriving in India, two Canadian archers have pulled out of the sporting event citing safety and health concerns. A formal opening of the Games Village is also scheduled for Thursday.
Canada on Wednesday told some of its athletes to delay proceeding to the Commonwealth Games because of "unliveable" conditions at the athletes' village.
Kevin Tataryn and Dietmar Trillus said they would not be going to New Delhi any more, according to coach Richard Towler. They join Australian discus thrower Dani Samuels and England triple jumper Phillips Idowu who have decided to pull out of the Games for security reasons.
Canada's heavyweight boxing champion Samir El-Mais also hinted that he too might pull out of the event.
The boxer, who is to leave for India with six other pugilists on Saturday, said he was scared of going to Delhi after hearing about conditions in the sports village.
"It's kind of scared me. Will I feel safe, probably not, but we are guests there, they have to take care of us,'' the boxer was quoted as saying.
Earlier in the day, Commonwealth Games Canada told some of its athletes to delay their journey to Commonwealth Games beginning Oct 3, saying a decision will be taken once it is confident their sportspersons are "safe and healthy.''
The Canadian women's field hockey team, three shooters and several members of the delegation's mission staff were scheduled to leave for New Delhi Wednesday.
"We cannot put (athletes) in rooms unless we are confident they are safe and healthy," Canadian chef de mission Martha Deacon told CTV news channel.
"The (Games) village is a challenge. A great variety of rooms and towers in the village need some significant, very rushed last minute work. There are some rooms in the buildings and towers that, with great effort in the next several days, may be acceptable to our athletes,'' he said.
Commonwealth Games Canada officials said their advance team in India found construction sites strewn with debris and human excrement and toilets not flushing.
They said the collapse of a pedestrian bridge near the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the attack on two foreign tourists in Delhi and fears of an outbreak of Dengue fever have heightened their concern about the safety of athletes.
Commonwealth Games Canada president Andrew Pipe said Wednesday that he was only "cautiously optimistic'' about improvement in living conditions at the Games' village.
"We are working closely with our national sport organization partners, and some of them have decided to delay their departures,'' he told the news channel.
"All of that logistical work is ongoing, and in response to what we find on the ground. Clearly we have had to deal with some very specific and very unique challenges - challenges, which, unfortunately, we have been talking about for months with the Indian authorities.
(with input from agencies)