Despite Qaeda threat, New Zealand set to axe psychologist for Delhi Games

Written by: Super Admin
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Wellington, Mar. 24 (ANI): New Zealand is set to axe the psychologist from its Commonwealth Games team despite an Al Qaeda threat looming large over the championship to be held in New Delhi.

In February, al Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri had threatened to target the Delhi Commonwealth Games, the ongoing Indian Premier League cricket matches and the now successfully concluded Hockey World Cup.

Soon after its threat, New Zealand hockey star striker Simon Child pulled out of the World Cup in Delhi, saying: "The heightened security does not create an ideal high performance environment".

While the final composition of the support team has yet to be announced, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has decided against sending a psychologist on the tour.

The NZOC's decision to take its athletes to Delhi without a mental safety net has been labelled as an irresponsible move by mental health specialists.

Sports psychologists learned, who learned the decision only last Friday, have expressed disappointment at NZOC's decision.

"This could be the one Games where mental health support is vital. It would be irresponsible not to have some mental health support in place, should there be threats to athletes, or a crisis occur," quoted one psychologist, as saying.

"Delhi will be a difficult, distracting and unsettling environment, and athletes will need every tool available if they are to produce their best," she added.

Meanwhile, NZOC communications adviser Ashley Abbott has said that no decision had been made on who would be in the Games support team, with the final call depending on how many athletes were selected. (ANI)

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