If you feel unsafe, fly back home: Oz to swimmers

Posted By: Samyuktha
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Melbourne, Sep 7: In yet another major international embarrassment to the Delhi Games organisers, Australia has reportedly told its swimmers that they could give the soon approaching Commonwealth Games 2010 a miss if they are worried about their safety.

According to an Australian media report, Swimming Australia president David Urquhart has told the swimmers that if any of them felt unsafe after landing in New Delhi and wanted to leave, they could do so and their flight home would be paid for.

"If they arrive there and they feel unsafe and they don't like the place and want to get out we will fly them back. We have given that guarantee. I said that and [Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive] Perry Crosswhite backed it," Urquhart is quoted as saying in Herald Sun.

"Our first concern is the safety of our athletes and other people from the swimming family going over there. We have also told our athletes if they don't want to go that will be their decision and there will be no recourse. We have not had anyone pull out. We have some people ask for early releases for exams and work once their events are done," he added.

The report also mentions the recent attack on the Indian swimmer M B Balakrishnan. The Chennai athlete was attacked by two unidentified persons and is recovering from the grievous injuries he sustained at a hospital.

However, Urquhart said that the officials have been reassured of safety after hearing accounts of lawn bowlers, hockey players and cricketers who played in New Delhi recently.

"People from bowls gave a talk at a briefing in Melbourne. They said they did not feel threatened at any stage when they visited recently," he said.

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