Athletes 'treated like cattle' before ceremony

10:08 pm on 5 October 2010

The Australian Commonwealth Games team has criticised organisers of the opening ceremony in Delhi, saying their athletes were treated like cattle.

Before Australia led competing nations into the arena on Sunday, athletes were marshalled into a tunnel under the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the ABC reports.

Australian chef de mission Steve Moneghetti says the 254 athletes were kept in a cauldron for an hour, unable to move, and there was no doubt the temperature inside the tunnel was over 40 degrees Celsius.

"We were treated like cattle - it was disgraceful. I'm not over-exaggerating this situation."

On Tuesday morning, Mr Moneghetti met with Indian officials involved in the opening ceremony and told them that they showed total disregard for the athletes' welfare.

He says it has jeopardised Australia's participation in future Commonwealth opening ceremonies.

It is the latest in a string of problems and concerns hanging over the Games, including the collapse of a pedestrian bridge outside the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, poor conditions in the athletes' accommodation and an outbreak of dengue fever.