The first athletes have now taken up residence in the Commonwealth Games village which opened at Christchurch in New Zealand on Wednesday (January 9th).
The first athletes have now taken up residence in the Commonwealth Games village which opened at Christchurch in New Zealand on Wednesday (January 9th). The games themselves, involving 2000 athletes form 39 countries, will start on January 24th.
The first teams to move in were those of Kenya and Uganda. Another early arrival was Northern Ireland's Olympic gold medallist Mary Peters.
Security guards arrived at the village at dawn. 180 of them will be on 24-hour duty during the games to prevent any unauthorised people entering the village. At the Olympic Games in Munich some Israeli athletes were kidnapped and later murdered by Arab terrorists.
Apart from the athletes about 800 authorised people are living in the village. They include waitresses, cooks and a small band of men laying instant grabs -- almost the only uncompleted task.
The opening of the village has not been without incident, and its date has been changed three times. But on Wednesday, Village Committee Chairman, Harry Dean said, "Everything is falling into place; Games Chairman, Ron Scott said that all but 200,000 New Zealand dollars (GBP 130,000 sterling) of the Games budget had been raised. The remaining athletes were expected to arrive over the next few days, provided that the world fuel crisis did not hold up charter flights."