OC, government speak different tunes on player pullout

The government is worried about the pullout of star players from the Commonwealth Games but the Organising Committee says one or two withdrawls would not make any difference.

Updated: Jul 18, 2010, 16:37 PM IST

New Delhi: The government is worried about
the pullout of star players from the Commonwealth Games but
the Organising Committee says one or two withdrawls would not
make any difference.

The Sports Ministry and the OC came out with completely
contrasting viewpoints as Olympic Champions Usain Bolt, Shelly
Ann Fraser and Chris Hoy announced that they will give a miss
to the October 3-14 Games.

Sports Minister M S Gill feels the Games would lose sheen
if star players like Bolt would not compete but OC Chairman
Suresh Kalmadi says it makes no difference if one or two
players decide to miss it.

"We have read in paper this one is not coming, that one
is not coming. Let me tell you that the biggest squad ever is
coming from every country. Australia has confirmed 700 entries
and England 500 which is highest ever.”

"If one or two do not come, it does not matter. The Games
will go on, the best of the world are coming and new champions
will be created," Kalmadi said at the inauguration of the
Swimming Complex.

However, Gill was very disappointed with the decision of
the athletes and said he would ask CWG President Mike Fennell
to bring those players to Games and would also raise the
matter at the meeting of the Sports Ministers of the
Commonwealth nations on October 4.

"Star athletes have slowly drifted away from the Games.
It`s not at all good. I want to tell Mr Fennell that don`t
bring your officials here but bring stars like Bolt, Fraser,
Hoy and others with you.”

"I`ll raise this issue before them definitely. If these
stars failed to turn up, then all our efforts stand waste.
People would say that if only you and Suresh (Kalmadi) were to
run then why you spent so much," Gill said.

PTI