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Doctors Declare Swimming Pools Not Behind Teams’ ‘Delhi Belly’

Swimming pools used in New Delhi’s Commonwealth Games were not the cause of sickness among the Australian and England aquatics teams, officials said today.

Tests carried out at the games village, practice and competition pools showed water quality met the standards required for competition, Games Federation President Michael Fennell said at a news conference in the Indian capital.

Doctors agreed that pool water was not the trigger for the teams’ stomach complaints, Fennell said, adding that the problem may have been caused by a “number of other things.”

Steve Moneghetti, Australia’s chef de mission, said that more than 12 swimmers out of a squad of about 50 had complained of stomach troubles, ABC reported yesterday. English swimmer Fran Halsall on Oct. 6 blamed what she described as “Delhi belly” for her failure to qualify for the 100-meter butterfly final after she won the gold medal in the 50-meter event the day before.

The run-up to the Oct. 3-14 games was marred by missed construction deadlines, the collapse of a stadium footbridge and complaints of uninhabitable accommodation for athletes. Authorities accelerated work to complete facilities, clean dirty toilets and finish roads in the city of 14 million as some competing nations delayed the departure of their teams.

Trouble-plagued organizers were today fighting for permission to use helicopters to improve television coverage of two events to be held on the streets of Delhi.

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“We are having some concerns with the television coverage” for the cycling and walking events, Fennell said. “We are seeking to get authorities to give approval for TV helicopters to fly” in central parts of the city where flights are normally restricted.

The organizers, who are still scrambling to fill large numbers of empty seats in some stadiums, have dispatched free tickets to schoolchildren and charities. Organizing Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot said 900,000 tickets have been sold so far.

Seventy-one countries and territories, most former British colonies, are taking part in the event held every four years and which features 17 sports.

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