First NZers give Games village thumbs-up

Scottish athletes walk on a fountain at the Commonwealth Games village in New Delhi, India. Photo / AP
Scottish athletes walk on a fountain at the Commonwealth Games village in New Delhi, India. Photo / AP

The first New Zealand athletes to check into the Commonwealth Games village in New Delhi, the lawn bowls team, today gave the thumbs-up to the facilities provided.

The accommodation areas of the village have been under an intense spotlight over the past fortnight, with New Zealand being among the countries to complain about their dirty and unfinished state.

Those complaints led to a concerted clean-up, allowing the Black Jacks to check in last night (local time), two days later than originally planned.

Coach Dave Edwards said the players had no complaints after their first night in the village.

"Obviously, there's been a bit of work go in over the past few days, but as far as we're concerned, it's fine," he told NZPA.

"There's a little bit of dust and some poor finishing with plaster and paint and things like that, but we're very happy with what we've got."

Edwards said one comment from a bowler who had been at a past Games was the space in the rooms.

"There's horror stories from previous Commonwealth Games where you roll over in the middle of the night and give your neighbour in the bed next door a black eye," he said.

"But these are roomy and spacious in that regard and the rest of the village is all fine. The dining hall is excellent."

He added that the transfer from the airport to the village had been a smooth one.

Edwards was speaking just as the team were leaving for their first training session so he wasn't able to comment on the practice facilities.

The main reason the Black Jacks had wanted to arrive in New Delhi in good time was to get used to the artificial greens, which are much slower than those in New Zealand.

Because of the delay in being able to check into the village, they had a two-day stopover in Dubai.

"It just meant we missed a couple of days' training, which was disappointing, but we're here now."

The bowlers were followed into the village by the boxing and archery teams, and others due to arrive over the course of the day are competitors in gymnastics, synchronised swimming and badminton.

New Zealand chef de mission Dave Currie said the accommodation was not five star, "but it's clean and tidy".

He understood some of the later arriving countries were still having issues with their areas.

"One of the challenges we feared would happen was that, as they (the organisers) have more pressure on the village, they would struggle to keep ahead of it," he said.

"They're keeping ahead of it. They've got a lot of cleaners and workers here, but I understand there are still a few countries experiencing problems."

Currie said transport was "a bit of a problem" in getting finetuned because of the tight security measures in place, but he said organisers were "certainly doing what they said they would".

He said there was an escort with each transport movement comprising one armed vehicle in front and one armed vehicle behind and travel was on a dedicated lane.

"It's working pretty well," he said.

"There's some delays in getting away and the thing that is delaying it is are the security at the village here and getting into the training venues. Because of the heightened security, getting these movements streamlined has been a challenge."

- NZPA

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