Saturday, September 25, 2010

Only few athletes pulled out of games, says Mike Hooper

The Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation Mike Hooper on Saturday said that only a small number of athletes have withdrawn themselves from the Games.

He said that some athletes have pulled out for variety of reasons, security concerns, health concerns with dengue, conflicting sporting events, injury. But it is not as though hundred athletes have withdrawn.

He added that he is satisfied with the security arrangements at the Games venues.

"With the deployment of 80,000 police, 7,500 paramilitary, 3,000 commanders, lot of hi-tech stuff, I mean, it may well be that some people will perceive the security environment a little bit oppressive, but it's safe and secure, and that's what we want to have, safe and secure. I'd rather that than there be any incidents in and around Games venues," said Hooper.

He added that he is pleased with the cleaning up of the Games village, but maintained that it should have been done well in advance.

"Clearly there are still concerns that the team leaders out there at the Village are voicing them daily and ... fear to acknowledge there has been good progress over the last three-four days. All of this should have been done way in advance and been ready for them. It is very frustrating that we are where we are," said Hooper.

"But we have to accept that and get as much done as possible in the next couple of days. Deploy, as Mister Fennell asked the cabinet Secretary, and, I believe, as Government of India is now responding, deploy whatever is necessary to put things right," he added.

The Games are due to commence on October 3 and end on the 14th.

India is expecting about two million tourists in New Delhi for the Games, as well as about 10,000 athletes from 71 teams representing 54 Commonwealth member states.

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