Wednesday, March 17, 2010

England to send larger team to Delhi 2010 than Melbourne

There is no doubt that England will send a full team to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, England’s Chef de Mission for Delhi 2010 Mr. Craig Hunter has said after an exhaustive nine-day visit to the Indian capital. “England will categorically be sending a team to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later this year,” he said.

According to a report on the official website of Commonwealth Games England, it will be taking a team of 560, more than its squad for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in 2006, to compete across the 17 sports.

Mr. Hunter and a five-member delegation that included Commonwealth Games England Chairman Sir Andrew Foster and Chief Executive Ms. Ann Hogbin, visited every competition venue, while also observing the FIH World Cup and tests events in archery and boxing. “Having seen every competition site, we believe it will all be ready,” Mr. Hunter said.

“We have built up a great working relationship with the Indians, and there’s no doubt that they will stage a unique Games – as different from Melbourne as Melbourne was from Manchester. And that’s one of the outstanding features of visiting different countries and cultures for events such as this,” he said.

Mr. Hunter spoke of how his team had noticed massive progress since October. “It was clear from the quality of the presentations that were made to us in various seminars we attended that there’s a lot of joined-up thinking going on, so that related issues between the Village, catering and transport are all being addressed,” he said.

He dismissed earlier reports that security concerns would force England to fail to send a team to the Commonwealth Games for the first time. “There’s no doubt that there are lots of athletes who see Delhi as a vital developmental stepping stone towards the 2012 Olympics in London and they are very keen to be in the team,” Mr. Hunter said.

“Let’s wait and see who decides to go and who doesn’t when the time comes,” Mr. Hunter said. “Commonwealth Games England President Dame Kelly Holmes talks about one year when she came back after an injury and competed at the Commonwealth Games and it saved her career, and of course she went on to win double Olympic gold. She says, ‘Never say never’.

“So we’ll see who goes. Of course, individuals will be able to decide if they wish to go, for whatever reason, and we will respect personal choices. But the competitions out there will be very important for many athletes keen to get experience in a multi-sport Games ahead of 2012.”

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