Aus swimmers allowed to abandon CWG if felt unsafe: Report

Melbourne: Australian swimmers have been given permission to abandon the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi if they are worried about their safety, a report said.

Swimming Australia president David Urquhart said he had told the team any swimmer who felt unsafe after landing in New Delhi and wanted to leave would be given a paid flight home, even before their events.

“If they arrive there and they feel unsafe and they don’t like the place and want to get out we will fly them back. We have given that guarantee. I said that and [Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive] Perry Crosswhite backed it,” Urquhart said.

“Our first concern is the safety of our athletes and other people from the swimming family going over there. We have also told our athletes if they don’t want to go that will be their decision and there will be no recourse. We have not had anyone pull out. We have some people ask for early releases for exams and work once their events are done,” he was quoted as saying by ‘Herald Sun’.

The swimmers leave Australia on September 25 for a training camp in Malaysia before travelling to New Delhi.

The report mentioned the attack on Indian swimmer M B Balakrishnan by four men while he was on his way to training in Chennai.

Urquhart said the officials have been heartened by reports from lawn bowlers, hockey players and cricketers who played in New Delhi recently.

“People from bowls gave a talk at a briefing in Melbourne. They said they did not feel threatened at any stage when they visited recently,” he said.