MASERU — Lesotho will try to focus on competing at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi despite the messy run-up to the sporting extravaganza for mostly former British colonies.
Top athletes have been threatening to pull out of the gala, now dubbed the Shame Games, because of the filthy and inhospitable conditions at the residence meant for participants.
The Commonwealth Games were last week on Tuesday thrown into further chaos after a ceiling caved in at the weightlifting arena.
This happened just a day after a bridge near the gala’s main venue collapsed and injured at least 23 people.
India is racing against time to clear the mess before the 10-day Commonwealth Games start on Sunday.
Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) public relations officer Moshoeshoe Mokake however told the Lesotho Times the situation in India was nothing the kingdom’s athletes could not “stomach”.
He said although, like all visiting countries, they were concerned about the health and security situation in New Delhi, Lesotho would not consider pulling out of the tournament.
“With or without problems at the place where we are going, we are still going to compete at the games,” Mokake said on Tuesday as the first batch of Team Lesotho left the country for India.
The last batch, including athletes and officials, is expected to leave today.
Lesotho will be represented by 10 athletes in India — two swimmers, seven boxers and two tennis players.
Ten officials are accompanying the athletes.
Mokake said the LNOC had sent an advance team to India on Sunday to assess the situation in the host country.
“In order to ensure the safety of our team, last Sunday we sent people to India to analyse the situation and report back to us,” he said.
“They told us there were some things which were not up to standard.
“However; it’s not a crisis that cannot be stomached.”
The situation in New Delhi has already forced some top athletes to pull out of the games.
Australian Dani Samuels — women’s reigning world discus champion — pulled out on Tuesday because of security and health concerns.
Triple-jump title holder and world champion Phillips Idowu was reported to be considering his participation because of the same worries.
Other top athletes such as Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell have already ruled out their participation in the games.
The situation was further marred when defending 400m athletics champion Christine Ohuruogu and 1 500m runner Lisa Dobriskey pulled out because of injuries.