IOC Olympic Channel

News - Commonwealth Games

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

 2010 Commonwealth Games gets underway ,England happy with Games VillageThe 2010 Commonwealth Games will officially start tomorrow with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.

The Games, the first to be staged in India, have been dogged by problems with the athletes' village being called "inhospitable" just last week.

However, Games officials have worked round the clock to ensure competitions start, as scheduled, on Monday.

Prince Charles will represent the Queen and arrived on Saturday.

His exact role had been a source of confusion with local media reports claiming Indian President Pratibha Patil would officially open the Games.

But Clarence House, after emphasising that both would have roles in the ceremony, has confirmed the Prince will read out the Queen's baton message before declaring the Games open.


On Saturday, there were concerns a number of teams could boycott the opening ceremony or send a token presence because they were unhappy athletes who were set to compete on Monday would not be able to leave early.

However after talks with organisers, athletes can now exit the ceremony any time up to 30 minutes before the end.

And another row is looming in netball with technical officials unhappy over security, uniforms and transport.

It was feared the event would not start as scheduled on Monday but competition venue spokeswoman Saumya Maurya told The Associated Press there had been some issues but "they will be sorted out".

About 7,000 athletes and support staff from 71 nations are expected in the Indian capital for the 19th staging of the Games.

However, construction delays, corruption scandals, a dengue fever outbreak, the collapse of a footbridge near the main stadium and a suspected militant attack on two foreign tourists have blighted the build-up.

The Games were further put at risk last week when several countries, including England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand expressed their concerns over the poor state of the athletes' village.

Some athletes had their departures to Delhi delayed while others were put up in hotels as more 4,000 people, who were drafted in to work round the clock, made sure the village was hospitable.


The cost of the Games is now estimated to have risen as high as $6bn (£3.8bn) - 60 times the original estimate when they were awarded in 2003.

But India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram has promised the money will deliver "foolproof" security.

Upto 17,000 paramilitary troopers have reinforced the 80,000 member of the police force on duty in the city.

"Turn your attention toward the Games, enjoy the Games," said Chidambaram.

On Friday, England's chef de mission Craig Hunter said: "We're certainly in a much much better place than we were.


"Our new arrivals are saying it's not as bad as we thought it would be. There are still some issues, and there'll be issues right until we leave, but the good thing is there's more rapid reaction to them and we can address them pretty much straight away."

England's flag bearer Nathan Robertson , a veteran of four Commonwealth Games, also praised the facilities for athletes.

"The village quality has been very good, the food hall's excellent -- actually the accommodation is possibly some of the best we've stayed in," said the badminton player.

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