New Zealand delay Delhi departure by two daysSeptember 23rd, 2010 - 2:00 pm ICT by IANS
Wellington, Sep 23 (IANS) The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) Thursday delayed the departure of its athletes to New Delhi, citing hygiene and safety concerns.
The announcement by the NZOC comes after Scotland and Canada decided to delay their teams’ departure Wednesday over the incomplete state of the Games’ Village.
The Kiwi contingent was due to arrive in New Delhi later this week.
“The long list of outstanding issues has made it clear the village will now not be ready for New Zealand athletes to move in as planned,” NZOC president Mike Stanley was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.
Stanley and NZOC secretary general Barry Maister are currently in Delhi assessing the facilities for the athletes.
Stanley said the delayed departure to Delhi is hard on the athletes and likely to hamper their preparation for the mega event.
“It is tremendously disappointing. We know how hard this must be for athletes and we’re continuing to push for an urgent resolution.”
“This is not a matter of comfort or luxury, it is a matter of hygiene and safety,” said Stanley.
In what will be music to the ears of the Games organisers, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Thursday said that the situation in Delhi have improved slightly.
“That is not to say they are out of the woods,” Key said.
“There is still a lot of issues to be dealt with, but I think the NZOC officials are making every effort to make sure New Zealand participates in the Games, and unless they really believe either security or health standards are so compromised that they can’t attend, our country will be participating.”
“Obviously the NZOC have to make that final decision tomorrow, and obviously they will be cognisant of what is happening with other countries, but it is certainly my preference for them to be able to attend the games if they possibly can.”
Key said things improved as the Indian games officials got their act together.
“It is a bit of a wake-up call for them that so many countries were expressing their real concern, as well as the Commonwealth Federation,” Key said.
“It would be very embarrassing for them not to be able to host the Commonwealth Games and they certainly want to make this thing successful. Hopefully, they have got the message and they will produce a venue where we can all participate in,” Key said.
New Zealand’s swimming squad is in Dubai and the rugby sevens team is also expected to gather in the United Arab Emirates for practice before the Commonwealth Games.
–Indo–Asian News Service
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