Searing heat hampering athletes training programme

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Melbourne, Mar 13 (UNI) Soaring temperatures and lack of air-conditioning facilities have hampered the training schedule of athletes here for the 18th Commonwealth Games, who are struggling to adapt to the Aussie heat.

Their training programmes have gone haywire due to temperatures running as high as 40 degree celcius.

The Commonwealth Games village wore a deserted look with athletes prefering to stay indoors yesterday.

The sportspersons and the officials accompanying them were busy ordering more portable fans and air-conditioners and for a while their training programme took a backseat.

Prime Minister John Howard who visited the games village had to stop for several drink breaks during an hour-long tour.

The heat during the past three days has dried out the lawns in the village in Parkville, forcing many of the 4132 officials and athletes to stay inside.

But with no air-conditioning installed in the 90 million dollar village, some of the rooms weren't cool and there was no respite even in the evening as mercury stood at 37 degree celcius 1800 hrs.

Even the Indians, used to heat back home, found it difficult to stay put in the rooms because ''they were too cramped''.

Indian officials who did not want to be named said they were surprised that Village is bereft of basic facilities ''Just think, if this had happened in India, the media would have blasted everybody.'' ''We are not cribbing, we have not been singled out, it is for everybody, but is it not surprising that you have such expensive village but no air conditioners. They knew how hot it gets here.'' MORE UNI HSB PM KP1129

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