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'India should keep 2010 Commonwealth Games'

March 04, 2009 12:11 IST

The 2010 Commonwealth Games should remain in India despite growing concerns about security in the country and neighbouring Pakistan, a top Australian sports official said on Wednesday.

Speculation about the Games, which are due to be held in New Delhi from October 3-14, 2010, has intensified since last year's attacks on Mumbai and Tuesday's bloody ambush of the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.

A number of Australian athletes have already expressed reservations about competing in India with former swimming champion Dawn Fraser even calling for the event to be moved.

"We don't want another Munich," Fraser said, referring to the deadly attacks on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. "With an attack like that you wouldn't be sending any team over to that region at all. You wouldn't be sending any away in this climate."

Perry Crosswhite, the president of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association, said the Commonwealth Games Federation had called a teleconference to discuss the latest incident but there are no plans to relocate the Games.

"At this stage the Games are on at Delhi 2010 and we have no reason to believe that they won't take place," Crosswhite told reporters on Wednesday.

"Like everyone else I am shocked that they attacked a sporting team, and Pakistan cricket is so popular, for terrorists to do this is almost unheard of.

"We are not saying the Games are going to be cancelled."

More than 4,000 athletes from over 50 countries are expected to compete in 17 sports at the New Delhi Games, making it the biggest sporting event held in India.

Among the athletes likely to compete at New Delhi are Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice and British cyclist Chris Hoy, who each won three gold medals at last year's Beijing Olympics.

Crosswhite said India is planning a massive security operation for the Commonwealth Games but he could understand why some athletes may still be hesitant to go.

"I don't think anyone can guarantee anybody's safety any more," he said.

"If we did feel that those security issues were beyond an acceptable level we would have no hesitation in making our views known to the athletes.

"It is up to the athletes whether they go or not. We won't force them to go."

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