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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Wednesday, 22 September 2010 11:53 UK

NI still plan to depart for Commonwealths on Monday

Commonwealth Games Scotland delay
At least 23 people were injured as a pedestrian bridge collapsed near the event's main stadium on Tuesday

Team Northern Ireland plan to depart for the Commonwealth Games as scheduled on Monday despite the well publicised problems with the athletes' village.

Scotland have delayed their departure to Delhi amid the continuing concerns.

Wales have given organisers a Wednesday night deadline to confirm all venues are fit for purpose.

A Northern Ireland statement said that the "health and safety of our athletes is paramount...but we remain positive and await information first hand".

England team chairman Sir Andrew Foster said that organisers faced "a critical 24 to 48 hours", adding that the situation was on a "knife-edge".

Northern Ireland officials Stewart Tosh and Terry Crothers arrived in Delhi on Wednesday and will report back home after seeing conditions from themselves and speaking to officials from other countries.

"Both are very experienced having attended a number of Games in a management capacity and were present at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune in 2008; therefore are aware of the set up and indeed the Indian culture," added the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council statement.

The Games, which are due to run from 3-14 October, have been beset by concerns over security and facilities.

Safety fears were heightened after a section of false ceiling near the weightlifting area of the main stadium fell in on Wednesday.

No injuries were reported and Indian officials said it was "not something to be worried about".

Scotland's first party of 41 athletes and staff in the sports of boxing, rugby sevens and wrestling were set to travel to India on Thursday.

However, Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman Michael Cavanagh said that would no longer happen.

Cavanagh said Scotland remained "hugely committed" to the Games but believed urgent action was required and told the BBC: "The village is right now not fit to receive 6,500 athletes, which is due to happen within the next seven days.

"Part of the village is in a very poor condition and a very poor state of maintenance. There have been dogs roaming around the village, the apartments are filthy and there are piles of rubble lying around."

England were continuing to monitor the situation, with chairman Sir Andrew Foster admitting organisers faced "a critical 24 to 48 hours".

England will not travel to Delhi until 'confident'

"Our staff have been round all 17 sports venues and they are in good order, so the key remaining feature which there's a problem with is the village. The other problems have been resolved," he told BBC Breakfast.

"It's a situation that hangs on a knife-edge."

Scotland said the accommodation they were allocated on arrival was unfinished but claimed that they encountered problems even after being moved to a completed section.

Cavanagh added: "The accommodation we were moved into, which we cleaned ourselves, is in itself okay. It's not quite what we'd expect, but it is okay. The issue here is about the rest of the village.

We have discussed this with the sports involved and are in agreement that this is the best course of action under the circumstances

Michael Cavanagh

"The accommodation which we were moved out of still has hardly been touched.

"By delaying the arrival of our athletes by a few days, we hope to give the Delhi 2010 organising committee the necessary time to address the concerns that have been raised by both the Commonwealth Games Federation and the countries which arrived early."

Scotland's announcement is the latest in a long line of setbacks.

The ceiling collapse in the weightlifting area followed the collapse of a pedestrian bridge near the event's main stadium which injured at least 23 people on Tuesday.

A host of the world's leading athletes have pulled out of the event, with English athletes Phillips Idowu, Christine Ohuruogu and Lisa Dobriskey the most recent withdrawals.

World triple jump champion Idowu said he had concerns over security preparations for the Games, whereas Ohuruogu and Dobriskey both had injury worries.

English hurdler Natasha Danvers, who will not be competing because of injury, admitted a number of athletes were worried about competing in Delhi.

I would strongly reconsider competing - Danvers

"I think a lot of the athletes already out in the holding camp are afraid, and it's a legitimate feeling," she told BBC Breakfast.

"At this point you want to just be thinking about your performance, you don't want to be worrying if you're going to get sick or injured.

"I spoke to some colleagues this morning and they are worried about bombs, they are worried about being shot - it's just so bizarre to have to think about this at this point."

Jamaica's champion Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is the most high profile withdrawal, while Kenya's David Rudisha, who broke the 800m world record twice in August, is not competing.

Australia's discus world champion Dani Samuels said on Monday she would not be travelling to Delhi, citing security and health concerns, and Australia sports minister Mark Arbib warned more could follow Samuels's lead.

And New Zealand's prime minister said he would support any of his country's athletes who did not attend.

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see also
England hope to keep Games plans
22 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
English trio out of Commonwealths
22 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
NI monitor Delhi village concerns
21 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
British teams raise Delhi doubts
21 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Aussie Samuels out of Delhi Games
21 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Delhi Games bridge collapse
21 Sep 10 |  South Asia
Delhi Games village 'will be ready'
21 Sep 10 |  South Asia

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