Delhi faces threat of mass exodus from Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI, September 23, 2010 (AFP) – The chaotic Delhi Commonwealth Games faced dire warnings Thursday of a mass pullout by teams as organisers worked frantically to save the event from disaster with just 10 days to go. Eight countries have written a joint letter to the Indian organisers, demanding a list of conditions covering security and hygiene be met or they will refuse to compete, the BBC reported without naming the nations.

The head of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Michael Fennell, was due Thursday to hold crisis talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and the first athletes were due to begin arriving at the athletes’ village.

Foreign Minister SM Krishna insisted that security was a priority and promised the games would be a success, despite a shambolic buildup that has tarnished India’s hopes of showcasing its modern dynamism.

“I can assure you with all the confidence at my level that we will be able to deliver on the Commonwealth Games and it will be one of the most successful games that the Commonwealth will have undertaken,” he said.

But several world-class athletes have already pulled out of the October 3-14 event, and New Zealand on Thursday joined other nations includi