Big name pullouts from Commonwealth Games a blow: Gill

New Delhi: Sports minister of India Manohar Singh Gill on Saturday expressed regret over a series of pullouts from this year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, a day after British cyclist Chris Hoy announced his withdrawal.

“The world knows that India has spent lavishly for organising the Commonwealth Games,” Gill told reporters.

“The stadiums we built match the best in the world and far in excess of the requirement. It is therefore sad that some of the leading sportspersons are not coming to India.”

Quadruple Olympic gold medallist Hoy pulled out of the October 3-14 games because of a clash with the European championships, which carry qualification points for the 2012 London Olympics.

His withdrawal is a further setback to the games after the announcement in June that triple Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt would skip the event.

“We all wanted to see Bolt run in Delhi and Hoy, being a multiple Olympic and Commonwealth champion, was also a top draw,” Gill said.

Fellow Jamaican and Olympic 100 metres champion Shelly-Ann Fraser, who tested positive in a doping test in May, will also not attend.

“It appears that for the Olympic Games, performance in events like Asian Games and European championships are taken into account. Naturally, the sportspersons don`t attach the same importance to the Commonwealth Games,” Gill said.

“This is a matter which I think we will discuss in the Commonwealth Sports Ministers meeting in Delhi on October 4.”

Bureau Report

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