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Semenya Pulls Out But Things Continue To Look Up For CWG

New Delhi, Sep 29: The number of athletes and officials checking into the Commonwealth Games village today swelled to more than half of the 7,200 expected participants, lifting the spirits of the event organisers on
PTI September 29, 2010 22:10 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 29: The number of athletes and officials checking into the Commonwealth Games village today swelled to more than half of the 7,200 expected participants, lifting the spirits of the event organisers on a day when World Champion runner Caster Semenya pulled out citing injury.

Around 1150 athletes and officials poured in the village to take the number of participants staying in the village to more than 4500, while the list of commonwealth countries expressing satisfaction at the facilities also became long.

Australia, Kenya and South Africa praised the facilities at the 63.5 hectare residential complex, while Indian table tennis player Poulomi Ghatak and badminton star Jwala Gutta also threw their weight behind the organisers.

Home Minister P Chidambaram, meanwhile, visited three Games venues and expressed satisfaction at the arrangements, while Sports Minister M S Gill, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and senior official in PMO T K A Nayar reviewed the facilities at the Village and expressed satisfaction at the progress.

However, there was no stopping the individual pull outs with Semenya and two canadian athletes -- diver Meaghan Benfeito and badminton player Alvin Lau -- withdrawing citing contrasting reasons.

Amid these pull outs, second batch of atheltes from Australia, including 146 members comprising swimmers, table tennis players, athletes, tennis and badminton players, and England checked in at the village.

Singapore, Pakistan also arrived here along with Barbados, New Zealand, Maldives, Scotland, Seychelles and Zambia.

Earlier in the day, Dikshit visited the village and said the village is "absolutely ready" and "for the first time, I am feeling very satisfied". She also directed MCD and NDMC officials to finish the cleaning up by this evening.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram visited three Games venues and said he was satisfied with the security arrangements, allaying apprehensions expressed by a few countries.

"I am satisfied with the security. I can assure you that notwithstanding the difficulties, we will provide foolproof security at Games venues and Games Village," he said.

The much-criticised Village also received some positive reviews from Isle of Man boxer Dominic Winrow and some Kenyan team manager for athletic, Peter Angwenyi and team manager Stephen K Soi.

Australian chef-de-mission Steve Monghetti also gave the village a thumbs up, saying "We are feeling safe and secure. The environment is good in the Village and we have also talked to our High Commission. They have said there is no change in security. I wish the Games are a success. There is also transport to go to the venues. There is no problem, it's good." PTI