Bring athletes not officials: Gill to Fennell

New Delhi: Taking a strong exception to
pullout of some of the star athletes from the Commonwealth
Games, Sports Minister M S Gill on Sunday asked CGF President Mike
Fennell to bring those champions to New Delhi instead of an
army of officials.

Scottish cycling star Chirs Hoy is the latest Olympic
champion to withdraw from the Games after Jamaican sprinters
Usian Bolt and Anne Fraser decided to give a miss to the
October 3-18 Games.

Gill said the Games would lose sheen, interest and its
very objective if star players would not turn up.

"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. They are the main attraction for the
people of this country to see," Gill said while inaugurating
the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Complex here.

"Commonwealth Games is a sporting event and not the
meeting of officials. These athletes drifting away doesn`t
please me nor the Organising Committee. This is not done."

An upset Gill said he would raise the issue at a meeting
of the Sports Ministers of all the Commonwealth Nations on
October 4.

"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.

Beijing Olympic gold medallist Hoy, who also won gold
medals in 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, informed
Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) on Friday that he is no
longer available for selection for the Delhi Games.

"What happened with Hoy is that Brtish Cycling Federation
told him that you better take part in the European
Championship to qualify for the Olympic Games in London 2012.
This championship consists of valuable Olympic points.”

"Asian Games, European Championship and South American
championship count for qualification in Olympics and that is
the prime reason there priorities lies there. They don`t want
to participate in the Commonwealth Games which is a different
kind of sporting arrangement.”

"I again request Mr Fennell to bring these stars here and
not the thousands of officials. People want to see players not
them. It`s a moral duty on the part of players to come and
participate. I want `A` list of players and not `B` or `C`,"
Gill said.