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Commonwealth Games Chief: All Countries to Participate, But Much Work Remains


The president of the Commonwealth Games Federation says all 71 countries and territories linked to the former British Empire will fully participate in the crisis-plagued games in India.

But Michael Fennell told reporters in the Indian capital Saturday that a lot of work remains to be done before the international sporting event begins October 3.

Fennell flew to New Delhi after unsanitary facilities, construction mishaps, an outbreak of dengue fever and security problems raised concerns about the choice of India to host the games.

Many of the problems have centered on filthy conditions in the athletes' village.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently intervened in the preparations, deploying an army of cleaners to make the village habitable.

India was awarded the games in 2003, but did not start working on them until 2008.

The games were supposed to be a way for India to show off its last two decades of modernization. Instead, the event has turned into a source of embarrassment for the emerging Asian power.

Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said Friday that India should not have been awarded the Commonwealth Games.

Moody's, the financial ratings giant, said Friday the "negative publicity" about the preparations could give foreign investors considering expansion in India "reason to think twice."

About 7,000 athletes are due to participate in the games. The first athletes arrived Friday, but will be staying in hotels for a few days.

On Wednesday, part of a ceiling at the weightlifting venue collapsed. A day earlier, a pedestrian bridge under construction at the main Jawaharlal Nehru stadium fell apart, injuring 27 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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