Commonwealth village 'prepared' for Canadians

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:11 PM ET

Despite ongoing reports of the athletes' village abysmal conditions, the president of Commonwealth Games Canada said the Delhi facilities are good enough to welcome the first Canadian athletes on Monday.

Andrew Pipe, president of the CGC, said in a Sunday conference call that "we are totally prepared for the arrival of our athletes tomorrow. We have beds, and facilities are adequate."

Ninety beds have been inspected and cleared with another 30 beds waiting to be checked.

This differs greatly from a week ago when conditions of the athletes'

accommodations were deemed unacceptable, with sanitation concerns being the biggest issue. In response to the criticism, Indian contractors brought in extra cleaning staff to make sure the facilities were up to par by the time athletes started arriving this week.

Pipe said since then the Canadians have received building and fire safety certificates, confirmation that the elevators are working and have hired people from their own staff to guard the main entrance of the building.

However, Pipe says that some smaller participating nations like Malaysia, Botswana and countries in the Caribbean do not have the ability to send people beforehand to inspect the athletes' rooms.

"We are advocating on their behalf," said Pipe who has been receiving daily updates about the athletes' village from India. "We want to stress to the Indian organizers and the government their fundamental responsibility to ensure the safety of the games association."

Martha Deacon, chef de mission for team Canada, added that she was briefing chefs in Caribbean countries about what to expect once they land in India.

"We are on a cooperative venture. Ultimately every country wants their athletes to be successful in any country they're in," she said from Cambridge, Ont.. "When we work for one country we work for all of them."

But even though Pipe is optimistic about the games, he said the indifference organizers have expressed about many of the problems at the games was "stupefying."

"All of us are frustrated and it's embarrassing to have to indicate these deficiencies that have not been addressed," he said, adding that while many international sporting events run into last-minute problems, he has never seen anything like this.

A number of athletes have already pulled out of the games citing health and safety concerns. Last week, two Canadian archers decided not to compete and, on Sunday, another two Australian athletes announced that they will not compete. There have also been reports that a South African team member found a snake in one of the athlete's rooms.

"This is an experience no games organization wants to repeat," said Pipe.

The CGC's support staff were scheduled to arrive in India Sunday while the first group of athletes were to arrive Monday. Both Pie and Deacon will be in India later in the week. The games commence on Oct. 3.


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