Friday, September 24, 2010

New Zealand confirms Commonwealth Games participation

New Zealand has confirmed that they will athletes to the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, meaning that the Sevens team will be able to try and keep their perfect record, having won every Sevens Gold on offer since the sport was introduced at Kuala Lumpur in the 1998 Games.

However the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has said that the situation will be reviewed daily.

The decision was announced at a press conference by NZOC president Mike Stanley and secretary-general Barry Maister.

Both men have just returned from India to inspect facilities first hand before briefing the NZOC board.

"We remain hopeful that things can be turned around," Mr Stanley said.

"What we found was inexcusable and unacceptable but we've seen a change in leadership and this is positive."

New Zealand athletes are scheduled to arrive in New Delhi from September 28, and amidst concerns over player safety and conditions, Mr Stanley said that it was clear that the Indian Government had made significant progress in recent days.

The Chief Minister of Delhi had brought in 40 of her top administrators after recent issues were made public over the condition of the athletes village.

The NZOC board said the group of nearly 200 athletes would filter into Delhi on Tuesday, and advised them where possible to delay arrival to give the locals maximum time to get ready for the Games, scheduled to commence with the opening ceremony on October 3.

Gordon Tietjens and the team are assembling at the end of the month, with a injury replacement for Adam Thomson still to be named. They will then travel to Dubai on October 1, before heading to India.

The Sevens component of the games will be held at Delhi University on October 11 and 12.

New Zealand has won three consecutive Gold's at the Games since it was introduced, and have not lost a match at the games. Their first Gold medal success, won in Kuala Lumpur, was New Zealand's 100th Commonwealth Games medal.

They will enter as top seeds and head Pool A, where they will face opening matches against World Series regulars Scotland and Canada as well as Caribbean champions Guyana, who also competed on the World Series this season in Las Vegas.

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