Canada Happy at Games Village Progress, Athletes to Reach Sunday

By Gurmukh Singh

Toronto, Sep 24 (IANS) Canadian officials, who Wednesday delayed the departure of their athletes for the Commonwealth Games, 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 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 M.S. 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 Wednesday 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.

These athletes will now start reaching Delhi Sunday, the TV network said.

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.

They will be among those who reach the Indian capital Sunday, the TV network reported.



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