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England: No terror threat to athletes at CommGames

England: No terror threat to athletes at CommGames

England's Commonwealth Games officials are monitoring security in New Delhi but have received no intelligence to suggest their athletes could be targeted by terrorists at the October event and force the team to pull out.
Security in India has been under scrutiny since last year's terrorist strikes in Mumbai, and several sporting events on the subcontinent have been moved or affected by athlete withdrawals citing safety concerns.
England has been seeking advice from Britain's Foreign Office and London's Metropolitan Police, but neither has advised any of the British teams to withdraw from the Oct. 3-14 games.
"Unfortunately, we live in a world where terrorism is a the forefront of everyone's minds because of everything that has happened recently," England chef de mission Craig Hunter told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "But we live in a country where we've had terrorism for 40 years ... we also had threats in Sydney (at the 2000 Olympics) and so these events do attract enormous interests unfortunately.
"Between now and next September (when the team leaves for India), there are an awful lot of things that could happen. We are responsible for sending a team to Delhi and we will continue to monitor with the agencies that have appropriate intelligence."
Hunter strongly denied a front-page report in Wednesday's Daily Telegraph that claimed there was "virtually no chance" England would be sending a team because the lives of its competitors and officials would be in danger. The British newspaper quoted unnamed political sources as saying that the formal pullout would be announced in the new year.
"We have not received any sort of official or unofficial reports that suggest are any significant threats or issues relating to security," Hunter said. "We understand that security is of paramount importance and we will continue to monitor it and talk to the appropriate agencies, but at this moment we are planning to send about 565 team members to the games."
Safety concerns and lax security were cited this year when England's badminton team pulled out of the world championships in Hyderabad, but Hunter said they will be going to New Delhi.
"They are absolutely 100 percent behind supporting the games and they will be sending their strongest team," Hunter said.
The Commonwealth Games are set to be the biggest multiple-sport event staged in India since the 1982 Asian Games.
Organizers are expecting nearly 8,000 athletes and officials from 71 nations and territories, along with nearly 30 heads of states.
"Providing security and a safe and secure environment for the athletes, visiting officials and tourists for the Commonwealth Games 2010 would be top priority for the Indian Government, Delhi administration and the organizing committee of the Commonwealth Games," said Suresh Kalmadi, head of the 2010 organizing committee.
Kalmadi said that security plans had already been discussed with India's home ministry and all the Commonwealth Games associations "were satisfied with the security arrangements outlined for the games."
Perry Crosswhite, the chief executive of Australia's association, said his team's participation was not in doubt and any English withdrawal wouldn't prevent the games proceeding.
Crosswhite, a member of the commission overseeing games preparations, said Australia was still on course to field one of its largest-ever squads in New Delhi, featuring more than 400 athletes and officials.
"We will take the best advice we can get and at this stage it (security) is adequate," Crosswhite said.


Updated : 2021-01-19 19:36 GMT+08:00