Canada delays sending athletes, archers pull out

Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:07pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will delay sending athletes to New Delhi for the Commonwealth Games because of concerns about health and safety conditions within the athletes village, Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) said on Wednesday.

The women's field hockey team and two shooting athletes, who were scheduled to leave Canada Thursday evening, will remain home for at least two more days.

The CGC also said that Canadian archers Kevin Tataryn and Dietmar Trillus, who was considered a medal threat in the men's compound bow, had withdrawn from the Games.

"The bottom line is that the accommodations in the athletes village simply aren't ready," Scott Stevenson, CGC's director of sport who is on the ground in Delhi, said in a statement.

"We're working extremely hard with local authorities to get the finishing work and the clean-up done but it's going to take more time.

"More importantly, we have not received the official clearance from the host Organizing Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation that the village is ready for its official opening."

Canadian team support staff, including medical professionals, operations experts and communications personnel, who were scheduled to leave on Wednesday, have also been told to stand down for at least 48 hours.

Security and an athletes' village described as unlivable top a growing list of concerns for the CGC as Games organizers scramble to keep the event from descending into chaos and full-scale boycott.

The CGC's primary focus remains making sure staff and athletes will be provided with acceptable accommodation.   Continued...