INDIA’S APPARENTLY ILL-FATED Commonwealth Games have been dealt another substantial blow, with reports that the roof of the new venue in New Delhi built to host the weightlifting competition has collapsed.
A local TV station reported that a false ceiling in the venue – which was purpose-built and only completed in recent months – had collapsed, a report apparently verified by a cabinet minister who tried to downplay the accident.
KM Chandreshekhar, the cabinet secretary, said that the false ceiling had been put in place to hide the numerous TV and data cables for the venue and that it had simply collapsed under the weight of the wiring.
The collapse is the latest in a series of controversies threatening to completely mar the games; just yesterday an uncompleted footbridge adjacent to the Jawaharial Nehru stadium, where most of the games are taking part, collapsed and left 27 construction workers injured, four of them seriously.
Some teams, including those of England and Scotland, have threatened to withdraw from the games altogether in protest at the apparently ‘uninhabitable’ conditions of the athletes’ village.
Scotland has delayed the departure of its athletes to the games while a delegation travels to India to negotiate alternative living arrangements, while England has admitted its participation in the Games remains ‘on a knife-edge’.
Australia, meanwhile, have expressed major concerns about fundamental security flaws within the village that could render the athletes liable to terrorist attacks – exposed when a TV journalist gained access to the stadium while carrying a suitcase containing 200 bombs’ worth of crude explosives.