Thursday, 29 April 2010

CWG participants not allowed to bring armed security

Countries participating in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games will not be allowed to bring their own armed security personnel into India, in spite of ongoing security issues surrounding the October event.

Instead, international teams that want to enhance the "stringent" security arrangements will be permitted to have security personnel, acting in an informal advisory role only, added to team staff.

This comes as the chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Mike Hooper, based in New Delhi, said he was in constant discussion with deputy high commissioners of Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Australia about the security matters.

He said no country has withdrawn from participating in the Games, which features about 8000 participants - including new Commonwealth addition Rwanda. Rwanda has indicated it will send a team of 100 athletes to the Games and its inclusion, coupled with the ommission of Fiji, which lost an appeal to compete in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, brings the total number of competing countries to 71. England officials said their team will total about 400.

Athletes around the globe have been nervous about the Games in the wake of the Mumbai bombings in November 2008 which killed more than 300 people and the Bangalore bombings outside a Premier League cricket match earlier this year.

"The security arrangements have been put in place by the Delhi government and the Delhi police and this is a responsibility they are taking very seriously and there is nothing to suggest that won't be the case," Hooper said.

"There will be nothing to stop security advisors to accompany teams, that is normal sensible planning but they won't be armed - if people say they wanted to come to London and bring their own weapons, what would the London security people do, it isn't on."

Hooper indicated that he was more concerned about the key venues being completed in time to allow the organizers time to set up.

However, the CGF chairman Mike Fennell upgraded his assessment of the main stadium, the aquatics venue and the cycling velodrome from "it is distressing" back in December to a recent "I am concerned".

"They have to be finished, because they must be," said Hooper. He said other concerns about food safety and traffic congestion had been addressed by the New Delhi organisers. There will be food testing and strict hygience standards within the Games village.

"There has been a dramatic change in the city infrastructure and my journey into the city from the airport now takes half the time it used to because of new flyovers and the metro is about to open in July which will be a big benefit too," he said.


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