Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Will Blincoe & Kiwis Compete at Commonwealth Games?

This from the New Zealand Herald. Concerns about security, sanitary conditions in Delhi, India may jeopardize New Zealand's participation in next month's Commonwealth Games. Villanova's Adrian Blincoe, the NZ national record holder, is scheduled to contest the 5000 meters.

Review to decide Commonwealth Games go-ahead
By David Leggat Monday Sep 13, 2010

New Zealand Commonwealth Games bosses today went into overdrive, insisting they won't be cutting any corners on security ahead of the October 3 opening of the event in New Delhi.

New Zealand have gone in with Canada, Australia, England and Wales in a joint operation to assess security and general readiness of New Delhi for the Games.

Around September 23, the advance group will report back to the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

"We'll come back and (report that) either it will be okay or we don't think this is viable," New Zealand Games team chief Dave Currie said.

The five countries are pooling their resources with a group of over 40 personnel working together, including seven from New Zealand, two of whom will be embedded within the New Zealand team.

The idea is to make the most comprehensive possible assessment on a variety of fronts.

They include whether basic amenities are working, such as showers and toilets, the state of security round the food in the athletes' village through to issues including transport and health.

However NZOC president Mike Stanley said that while the five will be working closely ultimately there won't be a binding decision taken on whether to continue with the Games or pull out.

"It is going to be a collective consultation and collaboration in all of this," he told the Herald.

"But we are an independent body and will make our own decision based on that.

"Naturally if you engage with a group of nations of a high level of expertise and who have got similar sorts of experience with the Games, obviously we'll take on board their view. But at the end of the day it's our decision."

Currie took a swipe at both those sports sections who have employed independent security advisers on top of the NZOC assessments, and media for speculation around Games issues.

"It's not helpful when people speculate round the situation, whether it be dengue fever or 1000 athletes that haven't arrived. That's mischevious in my view and there's no basis for that at all," Currie said.

He wondered why Netball New Zealand, Hockey New Zealand and the New Zealand Rugby Union have sought extra security information.

"To me there's no logic. They've chosen to do it but I don't know why they've done it.

"Clearly the athletes federation are working with a range of sports. If you think about it, five countries, with all the resources, all the security agencies feeding information into a commol pool.

"(Independent advice) is not going to be ignored but thus far they've come up with nothing different to that which we've got from everybody else."

Both Stanley and Currie were at pains to insist the athletes' security is top priority.

"There will be a ring of steel round the village like you won't believe," Currie said.

Stanley added that "if the New Zealand Government can't advise that our athletes will be safe, then we won't go".

"Anyone suggesting we are going to put athletes at risk is being mischevious. This is our No 1 priority, make no mistake."

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