Two Canadian athletes pull out, Canada delay trip to CWG

TORONTO: Two archers – Kevin Tataryn and Dietmar Trillus – have become the first Canadian athletes to pull out of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, citing health and safety concerns.

Manitoba’s Tataryn and Dietmar withdrew from the international competition on Wednesday morning due to conditions at Athletes’ village, said Scott Ogilvie, Archery Canada’s executive director. Ogilvie said their decision was personal and independent and was “unfortunate” since the rest of the 10-member team is still expected to depart on Tuesday.

“I’ll take my safety over a medal any day,” Tataryn, a 25-year-old materials technician with a geotechnical engineering firm, said. “When other athletes are deciding not to go as well, it kind of hit home a bit more that you are not the only one thinking it’s not the best place to be going.” The archers are the first two Canadians to withdraw from the Games, following the path earlier taken by the likes of triple Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica. “It seems like it’s all a bunch of little things that they are having problems with, what the people in India make it seem like,” said Tataryn. “But I think it’s quite a bit larger of a problem from what I’m being told by our Commonwealth Games representatives.”

Meanwhile, Canada have decided to review over the next couple of days whether to send its athletes to Delhi for the Games and has instructed some of its sportspersons to delay their departures. Canadian Broadcaster CBC said Canadian Commonwealth Games officials are monitoring the situation and will decide whether athletes from their country should go to Delhi. “We have to review that in the next couple of days, and we’re keeping a very close pulse on (questions of) is this safe, is this meaningful, is this going to be an experience we promised our athletes and coaches… and that becomes the 64 million dollar question,” Canadian chef de mission Martha Deacon told CBC News. The departures of some of the Canadian athletes to New Delhi for the upcoming Commonwealth Games has been delayed by a few days as officials felt the athletes village “is not yet up to code”.

Pistol shooters Patricia Boulay of Kingston and Alan Markewicz of St Albert, Alberta were scheduled to leave for Delhi yesterday, but were told to wait at least two more days. The Canadian women’s field hockey team, which was scheduled to leave this evening, has been told to delay its trip for two more days. Four of Canada’s mission staff were sent as scheduled, with another seven told to wait 24 hours.Deacon said there are issues with hygiene, plumbing and electricity in some of the rooms in the village. “We cannot put (athletes) in rooms unless we are confident they are safe and healthy,” she was quoted as saying.

The build-up to the Games has been marred by complaints over unhygienic conditions at the Games Village, and to make things worse a foot over bridge collapsed near the main stadium on Tuesday, injuring 27 people. Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell has already shot off a letter to Cabinet Secretary detailing the “unlivable” conditions at Athletes’ Village which along with a footbridge collapse near the main Games venue had triggered withdrawal of two high-profile athletes besides pull out threats from some countries.

Several nations, including Canada, Scotland, Northern Ireland and New Zealand, have expressed concerns about delays in the completion of the athlete’s village – Timesofindia