Sydney: Australia’s triple Olympic champion Leisel Jones said Friday she has no security or health concerns about competing at next month’s New Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Jones, who will be defending her Commonwealth 100/200m breaststroke crown at the October 3-14 Games, said the Indians will put on a great show for the 71-nation multi-sports event.
The run-up to the Games has been dogged by delayed venues, corruption scandals, public rifts among officials and international concern ranging from dengue fever outbreaks to the risk of militant attacks.
But that hasn’t fazed the 25-year-old seven-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
“India’s going to be a great country, it’s going to be full of colour, people go there on holiday all the time and really enjoy it and I think we’re going to have a really great time,” Jones said at the unveiling of the team’s formal uniform in Melbourne.
“I think they’re going to put on a great show, with great colours and awesome food.”
Jones said she was satisfied with the security information provided by Australian government and team officials.
“You can live in Melbourne and incidents can happen, you’re not truly safe from anything,” she said.
“I’m not concerned at all at this point, we’ve had a lot of briefings with a lot of information about what’s been happening and we’ve only heard good things.
“The Australian government obviously will be looking after us to the nth degree and I have all my faith in everyone.”
Mosquito-borne dengue fever causes deaths in New Delhi every September and October, but numbers of those affected has been unusually high this year with at least 1,000 cases so far.
Undeterred, Jones said the Australian team always took precautions with their water supply.
“You’ve just got to be really careful,” she said.
“Growing up in (Australia’s) Northern Territory can be pretty scary as well and going to Africa, there was yellow fever, but you get vaccinations and you’re careful about the water you drink.”
While new metro stations are still under construction and much of Delhi remains littered with rubble from half-completed projects, Jones saw it as part of the charm in competing in an exotic destination.
“Athens was exactly the same up to their (2004) Olympics, they were literally finishing the pool the day before they were competing, screwing things in,” she said.
“I’m not terribly concerned, I think they will get it together... Sydney was very prepared for their (2000) Olympics but I think other countries take it differently to what we do.
“I kind of like their relaxed nature, they take it as it comes and they’ll get it done, I’m sure they will.”