Tuesday, July 7

Aussies rule out boycott


Delhi participation left to competitors, sporting bodies to decide

SYDNEY: The Australian government has ruled out ordering a boycott of this year’s Commonwealth Games in India despite fresh warnings from security experts over the safety of visiting athletes.

Australia’s acting foreign minister Simon Crean said the government was monitoring security arrangements in New Delhi but the final decision about participating in the Games would be left to competitors and sporting bodies.

“In the end, it is not a decision for the government whether the team actually goes,” Crean told reporters yesterday.

“It is a decision for the athletes. It is also a decision for the sporting bodies.

“At this stage, we continue to say there is no reason for concern. That is a view that has been expressed by the sporting bodies and by a number of athletes.”

Crean’s comments followed a warning in Australian media about security arrangements for the Commonwealth Games.

The Sunday Telegraph quoted Lloyd Bromfield, described by the newspaper as an international security consultant who had worked at the past three Olympics and had been hired for London in 2012, as saying New Delhi represented a real risk to visiting athletes.

“The worst-case scenario could be a major bombing,” he told the newspaper.

“It could be a Mumbai-style (attack), where you’ve got a team of Osamas running around with hand grenades and small arms. It could be anything.”

Bromfield’s warning came a week after another Australian security expert urged the government to provide extra protection for athletes because of the threat of an attack.

A London newspaper reported late last year that England were planning to pull out of the Games because of fears of an attack but English officials said the reports were not true.

Indian officials have repeatedly given assurances about their promise to provide tight security for the Games, to be held from Oct 3-14. — Reuters