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No Point In Sending Athletes To Delhi For CWG, Says NZ PM

Auckland, Sep 21 : New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Tuesday that there was no point in sending the athletes to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi if they faced health and sanitation issues in
PTI September 21, 2010 18:16 IST
PTI
Auckland, Sep 21 : New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Tuesday that there was no point in sending the athletes to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi if they faced health and sanitation issues in the Games Village, which was described as 'filthy' by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

Key's comments come a day after he said that Commonwealth Games should be held despite the shooting incident outside the Jama Masjid mosque that left two Taiwanese nationals injured in the Indian capital Sunday.But Tuesday, Key was upset with the adverse reports of the unhealthy conditions at the Games Village.

'There's no point in sending them to Delhi if they end up feeling like I currently feel at the moment. We need to make sure they are fit and healthy and can compete well,' Key was quoted as saying in the New Zealand media.

Key's comments come after New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie, who is in New Delhi ahead of his team's arrival, said large sections of the village were still not ready with the clock ticking to its official opening Thursday.'The way things are looking, it's not up to scratch,' Currie told New Zealand commercial radio.

'The reality is that if the village is not ready and athletes can't come, the implications are that it's not going to happen,' Currie said.Currie said the prospects of the Games being cancelled were now very real.

'That's not a decision that we'll make (alone) but there are some realities. If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that it's not going to happen,' he was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.

'I think they (Commonwealth Games Federation) are in severe difficulties. In the time frame that is left, unless there is tremendous effort and energy and problem-solving ability to get it done, I think it's going to be extremely hard to get across the line.'They've got a little bit of time but it's kind of two seconds to midnight really.'

Currie said the half-built nature of New Zealand's proposed accommodation was 'extraordinarily disappointing' to his delegation when they arrived last week.

New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) president Mike Stanley and secretary-general Barry Maister left for New Delhi Tuesday to 'assess the situation first hand and provide our member countries and territories with a frank assessment'.Stanley said New Zealand was working with five other nations - England, Scotland, Wales, Canada and Australia - in assessing preparations for the Games.

'What they are frustrated by is not enough action, not enough quick action, to see that, between the time we have now and the athletes coming into the village, or even the opening of the Games, things are going to be ready,' he said.Stanley did not want to speculate on how big a risk there was that the Games might not be able to proceed on time.

'There has always been a chance that something could happen to the Games,' he said.