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Australian Swimmers Leave For KL En Route Delhi

Australia's swimmers put on a united front and played down any concerns over health and security issues on Saturday at Sydney airport as they prepared to depart for the 19th Commonwealth Games to be hosted
PTI September 25, 2010 14:49 IST
PTI
Australia's swimmers put on a united front and played down any concerns over health and security issues on Saturday at Sydney airport as they prepared to depart for the 19th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by India.  

With just over a week to go until the start of the event, competing teams and athletes have previously revealed their worries over health and security in the host city of Delhi.  

However fears that some countries would pull out of the games that begin October 3 eased on Friday (24/9) when New Zealand and Australia, both harsh critics of India's preparations, said their athletes would attend.  

Several athletes have withdrawn from the games in recent days, including Olympic 400-metre runner Christine Ohuruogu, world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu and world discus champion Dani Samuels from Australia.  But there was no sense of concern from the Australian swimmers such as 2008 Olympic Games silver medallist  Eamon Sullivan who said he was "committed" to competing.

The team will first travel to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia  for a five-day camp ahead of games, local media reported.  “All the security briefings so far have been positive and they're improving, and if it keeps along this track it's going to be good. So, you know we're lucky we have another five days in Kuala Lumpur before we actually head in to Delhi to I guess find out more and settle our nerves. But I'm really excited just to get over there", said swimmer Eamon Sullivan.

His team mate, 31-year-old Geoff Huegill, said he was satisfied that the venues and the athletes' village would be ready on time.    "Look, I'm already 100 percent satisfied. So, it would take a hell of a lot to swing my vote from this point in. So, look and in saying that too, it's going to have to be a decision that's made by the Commonwealth Games Association because even still if I get there, and let's say worst case scenario half of the team does pull out, you know, until the Commonwealth Games Association says that I specifically cannot go, then I'm definitely going."

The first foreign competitors arrived on Friday for the troubled Games, where frantic last-minute work by an army of cleaners was said to be paying off with improved conditions at the athletes' village.  However, some problems still needed to be resolved before the start of the Olympic-style competition which brings together about 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories. AP