Athletics arena in race to be ready


NEW DELHI, October 6 – Delhi's centre piece Commonwealth Games Stadium was undergoing frantic repairs on Tuesday, just 24 hours before the athletics programme gets underway, reports claimed.
Witnesses at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which staged Sunday’s spectacular opening ceremony, said that tarmac was being laid on the damaged running track.

One AFP photographer even saw workers still putting down grass on large, bare areas of the in-field.

"I’ve seen a number of athletes come in and I think they’re in shock," said Britain’s former Olympic triple jump gold medallist Jonathan Edwards.

"This is a culture where things are got ready at the last minute but there are very real concerns."

The Delhi Commonwealth Games have lurched from one crisis to another with allegations of widespread corruption, shoddy construction and declining health standards dogging the build-up.

Since the 11-day tournament got underway on Sunday, venues have been virtually deserted, weighing scales at the boxing were faulty while Tuesday’s weightlifting session was interrupted by a powercut which blanked the main scoreboard.

"There is a feeling that there are a lot of people working here (at the main stadium) but no real sense of urgency. They’re relaying part of the track which I think was damaged during the opening ceremony," Edwards told the BBC.

"For a top athlete coming into a stadium this is not what you expect. It’s beyond anything I imagined. Hopefully it will be ready to go on Wednesday for the first session."