Commonwealth Games

Games medical chief falls ill

2010-10-01 20:49
Commonwealth Games (File)

New Delhi - The chief medical officer for the beleaguered Delhi Commonwealth Games has fallen sick with suspected typhoid just days before the event kicks off, an official said on Friday.

In the run-up to the troubled showpiece, which begins on Sunday, health fears have mostly centred on a serious outbreak in the capital of dengue fever, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease.

Typhoid, a food and water-borne illness, is also an ever-present danger in India and athletes have been warned to be very careful about their food and water intake.

"Tarun Garg is on sick leave," an official at the Indian Federation of Sports Medicine said, adding that preliminary tests pointed to a case of typhoid. "But we have a slew of other medical officers on the job."

The Delhi event, which will bring together 7 000 athletes and officials from countries mostly from the former British empire, has suffered weeks of disastrous headlines ahead of the opening ceremony on Sunday.

Teams arrived in Delhi to find the athletes' village was unfinished and filthy and a new footbridge next to the main stadium collapsed, injuring dozens of workers.

The Games appeared to be in jeopardy with several national teams on the brink of pulling out. A small number of athletes have withdrawn due to health and security fears in the city.

Organisers say the much-criticised accommodation, described as "uninhabitable" by the Games' international federation, has now been fixed and all arrangements are in place.

Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia has brushed aside fears of a dengue epidemic, saying no athlete had reported sick so far.

"Things are improving day by day," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted her as saying.

"We are taking care of everything. Our officers have already sprayed anti-larvae insecticides all over the Games Village. About 400 athletes have visited the polyclinic inside the Village and there has been no case of dengue.

"We have a team of medical officers and they are equipped to deal with any health-related issues. We have sufficient number of doctors to treat athletes for any small or big disease.

"All tests can be conducted at the clinic."

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