President of Games Says Latest Fiasco "Is a Very Positive Story that Athletes Are Being Responsible"
- (CBS/ AP) Mike Fennell has had to endure lengthy grilling over poor attendance, food quality, the state of venues and transportation problems at these Commonwealth Games.
On Thursday, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation had a question of a different sort. And he handled it with aplomb.
Asked whether he could respond to newspaper reports that used condoms were blocking toilets at the athletes village, Fennell said: "I think that is a very positive story that athletes are being responsible."
He said that the issue had been controversial in the past "but promoting safe sex is a very responsible thing to do."
The stopped-up toilet fiasco is just the latest setback for trouble-plagued organizers in New Delhi.
British media reported Thursday that 20 percent of the England team's swimmers - about eight to 10 competitors - had been struck down with a stomach virus. The Australian team confirmed at least six of its swimmers had been sick, including Andrew Lauterstein, who had to withdraw from the 50-meter butterfly.
Organizers rejected speculation that the water quality at the aquatics complex was to blame.
Craig Hunter, the head of England's delegation, issued a statement saying he had received assurances from the games' organizing committee that water was safe. The England team said only 8 percent of its 541-member delegation had experienced any kind of stomach virus in the previous 28 days, which was lower than expected. That's 43 people from one team in a month.
Whether it was the water or just a case of "Delhi Belly," which isn't uncommon for visitors to India, it was yet another problem to plague an event that has been seen construction delays, pre-games complaints about filthy conditions in the athletes' village, allegations of corruption and concerns about security and outbreaks of mosquito-borne dengue fever.
In another development, police confirmed Thursday that three Ugandan officials were injured by a malfunctioning security barrier at the games' village, and a senior official from that country raised allegations of discrimination by Indian officials.
Late Thursday, a scoreboard crashed to the ground when a chain support snapped at the rugby venue, where competition does not begin until next week.
The games, which run until Oct. 14, have also been plagued this week by sparse attendance at many events. Organizing committee chief Suresh Kalmadi said 125,000 tickets had been sold Wednesday for future events, allaying concerns about the empty seats at some of the venues.