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Games in crisis after bridge falls

The Commonwealth Games is threatening to descend into chaos after a stadium bridge collapsed and two of England's top athletes pulled out of the competition.

With just 12 days until the start of the Delhi Games, the head of England's team has demanded guarantees of safety for competitors after 27 workers were injured, five of them seriously, when a major walkway connecting a stadium to a car park in New Delhi collapsed.

Craig Hunter, who has also highlighted concerns about the athletes' village, is demanding reassurances from organisers and warned that "time is beginning to run out" before the Games begin.

There are fears some teams could pull out of the Indian Games due to substandard accommodation, with 60 of the 260 rooms set aside for English athletes not watertight, and a major cleaning programme needed throughout.

Mr Hunter said the team remains "committed to participating", but added: "It's hard to cancel an event of this magnitude but we are close to the wire, and teams may start to take things into their own hands."

Meanwhile Olympic 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu pulled out after suffering from cramp at a training session last weekend. Lisa Dobriskey, who won the 1,500m title at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, has also chosen to quit the Games after suffering from injuries throughout the season.

World triple jump champion Phillips Idowu looks set to become the third high-profile English athlete to pull out of the Games after writing on his Twitter account that he is too concerned about safety at the site to take part, but his agent said no firm decision has yet been taken.

Team leaders from Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, Australia and Canada have also expressed "grave concerns" over the accommodation planned for the 6,500 team members.

Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper admitted that organisers had failed to meet their promises to provide adequate accommodation, saying: "The word filthy is almost generous. They are not habitable. There is still a lot to be done in regard to the overall cleanliness of the village and from a health and hygiene perspective."

Organising Committee vice-president Randhir Singh said there was "no problem" and described the buildings as "perfect".

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