September 1- Fiji is set to miss next year's Commonwealth Games if, as expected, if it does not respond by the end of the day to a demand to begin restoring democracy.
The 53-nation Commonwealth says it is ready to suspend the island nation in the Pacific if it does not respond to a demand to begin restoring democracy, that would rule them out of competing in New Delhi next year.
Eduardo del Bueya, a spokesman for the Commonwealth, said today the group is waiting for a response from Fiji's interim Government.
The Government in Suva has until midnight local time to respond.
In July, the Commonwealth said the Fijian Government must promise to resume dialogue with the country's opposition or face being cut off from all aid from the group and banned from the Commonwealth Games, which are due to start in the Indian capital on October 3, 2010.
Fiji has been under military rule since self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, the country's armed forces chief, seized power in a coup in December 2006.
It was the fourth coup there since 1987.
Bainimarama's Government had promised elections earlier this year.
Fiji, which gained independence from Britain in 1970 and occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, is already suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth.
Bainimarama has admitted that missing the Commonwealth Games would be a blow to Fiji, a country with a population of only 849,000.
Fiji made their debut in the Commonwealth Games - then called the Empire Games - at Sydney in 1938.
They returned in 1950, when the Games resumed after World War Two in Auckland, to win one gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
The gold was won by Mataika Tuicakau in the shot.
Fiji had to wait another 32 years until they won their next gold medal, boxer Fine Sani claiming victory in light heavyweight category at the Games in Brisbane.
They missed the 1990 and 1994 Games in Auckland and Victoria respectively because they were suspended because of the earlier military coups.
They returned to the Games in Kuala Lumpar in 1998, winning a silver in the inaugural rugby sevens tournament.
They also finished runners-up in the rugby in Manchester four years later.
But the Fijian hero of those Games was Nacanieli Qerewaqa, who won the gold medal in the men's 100kg category.
At the last Games in Melbourne in 2006 their only medal came again in the rugby sevens, when they won the bronze.
Their rugby team would again be among the favourites for a medal in Delhi after winning the prestigious Hong Kong Rugby Sevens in March.