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Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 19:11 UK

Commonwealth Games 2010: England urge more Delhi work


Team England encouraged by new Delhi 'urgency'

England have warned "more and swift action is required" at the Commonwealth Games' village before a second wave of their team arrive in Delhi on Sunday.

Members of England's men's hockey and lawn bowls teams arrived on Friday but are staying in hotels before moving to the athletes' village on Monday.

Scotland are sending their athletes, as planned, on Saturday.

Several nations have expressed concerns about the state of the accommodation and the safety of their competitors.

The Games are scheduled to take place between 3 and 14 October.

England's chef de mission Craig Hunter said while it was a boost to see the first wave of athletes arrive on schedule, there was still much to do.

Eilidh Child prepared for Delhi

"In the village, the level of activity continues to pick up and we are in a phase of looking at the detail, making sure that fire and safety equipment and procedures are in place and that the apartments are clean and safe", he said.

"Our next wave of athletes arrives Sunday and a lot still needs to happen before then. More and swift action is required."

The England's men hockey team visited the village on Friday and were reasonably satisfied with what they saw.

Team captain Barry Middleton said: "It's nice to see it for ourselves. The flats are spacious - which is good for a major Games - but there are bits and pieces to be done to bring them up to standard.

"A couple of days will make a difference.".

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England diver Peter Waterfield, who won gold and silver medals in the the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games respectively, is the latest participant to withdraw from the Games, saying he did not want to put himself at "risk".

"I have a wife and two young children who were very concerned about me attending the event and this decision is one that we have made as a family," said Waterfield. "I hope that people will understand and respect this."

Road cyclists Greg Henderson (New Zealand) and Team Sky colleagues Geraint Thomas (Wales), Peter Kennaugh (Isle of Man), Ian Stannard, Russell Downing and Ben Swift (all England) have also pulled out of the Games.

Photos taken earlier this week exposed the poor conditions of the accommodation in the village, with the event set to start on 3 October

The images, obtained by BBC Sport, showed dirty bathrooms, animal footprints on beds, exposed wiring and flooding outside the buildings at the athletes' village.

However, Lalit Bhanot, the secretary general of the Delhi organising committee, said he was confident the accommodation would meet the required standards.

"The government along with the organising committee have made all efforts to get the place up to the standard that is desirable," said Bhanot, who on Tuesday had referred to western standards of hygiene as being different to India's.

"Everything is fine. We have seen the work that has gone on in the past few days and you will see that the standard will be brought to the desired level."

Commonwealth Games Scotland's chairman Michael Cavanagh said that the assurances given by the Delhi organising committee had meant his team could fly out on Saturday as planned.

He stated: "There will undoubtedly be challenges ahead in Delhi, but we are confident that these can be effectively managed by our Team management, who have done a fantastic job over the last week to ensure we could get to this position."

Wales chief Anne Ellis added: "We're satisfied that everything is ready.

"A week ago it was like a building site, although most of it was cosmetic work, there were serious problems with plumbing and electricity.

"But that wasn't in the village. The food zone has been ready for some time, the international zone has been up and running and our tower block, which we went into last week with our advance party, has been turned round and is now comfortable for our athletes."

First English athletes prepare to leave for Delhi

Northern Ireland are also happy that the accommodation is suitable and their Commonwealth Games Council has confirmed the team will go to Delhi on Monday.

"We've been working very hard to remedy any difficulties that might exist with the accommodation," said Northern Ireland team manager Stewart Tosh. "We look forward to them travelling out here."

New Zealand have announced they will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi but will review progress around the athletes' accommodation and security on a daily basis.

The team is due to begin arriving in the Indian capital from 28 September.

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see also
NI team will attend Delhi games
24 Sep 10 |  Northern Ireland
Scots will travel to Delhi Games
24 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Greene queries Delhi withdrawals
24 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Shaw allays fear over Delhi games
24 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Eilidh Child prepared for Delhi
24 Sep 10 |  Scotland
England gymnasts' plans unchanged
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Wales green light for Games trip
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Athletes' village photos
23 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games

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