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Commonwealth Games village center of concerns

By Sara Sidner, CNN
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Why some athletes worry about India
  • Facility was intended to be "world class"
  • Games officials called it "disgusting"
  • Committee scrambling to clean village before athletes arrive

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- From afar the Commonwealth Games village, where the athletes are supposed to live during the 11-day event, looks clean, bright and fancy, especially compared to some of the other buildings in and around New Delhi.

It sits near a beautiful temple complex near the banks of the Yamuna River. The head of New Delhi's Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, touted the village as "world class," but when Commonwealth Games Federation officials toured the site they called the athletes living quarters "disgusting" and "not fit to live in."

Now it seems even Mother Nature is bent on making trouble for the games. After the wettest monsoon season in New Delhi in years the Yamuna River is at flood stage, and floodwaters are visible just on the other side of the Games village. The standing water of the polluted Yamuna is a great breeding ground for mosquitoes increasing health concerns over dengue fever, which is carried by mosquitoes.

Not all is lost at the Games village. There are parts of the games village that have been praised by the same the federation that slammed the athletes living quarters. The government has now responded to the calls for a "deep clean" of the village. India's Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot says everything will be fixed before the athletes are set to arrive on September 23.

When asked about the possibility of canceling the Games due to the issues with athletes' housing, Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Michael Hooper told CNN he did want to jump to that conclusion but, "What is clear, which I have said consistently, is there is a lot of work to be done in a very short period of time."