New Delhi games set to go ahead
Bosses play down reports event will be cancelled over post-Mumbai security fears.
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2009 12:23 GMT

An armed policeman on guard outside India Gate in New Delhi [GALLO/GETTY]
Commonwealth Games chiefs have rubbished reports that the tournament is in danger of being scrapped over security fears in the Indian host city New Delhi.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said on Monday that security arrangements were on track following safety fears voiced in Australia.

CGF Chief Executive Mike Hooper played down comments by Australian Commonwealth Games Association CEO Perry Crosswhite that the games could be cancelled if security was in doubt.

Security around the Games, due to be held from October 3-14 next year, has come under scrutiny after the attacks in Mumbai in November that killed at least 171 people, and a recent attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.

Hooper said he did not believe the events in Lahore would spark similar attacks on sports figures.

'Attacks happen'

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"These attacks happen – any major event potentially is a target whether it's a sporting event, government meeting, conference or whatever," he said.

"I don't think (it is) necessarily a sign what has happened in Lahore all of a sudden we are going to see a whole lot of attacks targeting sports people."

Crosswhite raised serious doubts about the Games and suggested they could be scrapped if a security assessment a month from the start deemed them unsafe to proceed.

Hooper spoke to Crosswhite on Monday and said the official denied Australia was contemplating pulling out or sending its own security officials.

No withdrawal

"He did not say they were looking to withdraw from the Games," said Hooper.

"He did not say they were going to bring their own security or going to have urgent talks in the next two weeks with their government officials.

"These attacks happen - any major event potentially is a target"

Mike Hooper

"Like all countries you take advice from your own security agencies and advisors.

"They also look to us for appropriate advice."

Hooper, who has been based in New Delhi for several months to oversee the Games build-up, said the organisers and Indian authorities were determined to deliver a safe event.

"Certainly all indications and commitments given to us and the planning processes that our advisors have been involved in would indicate that will happen," he said.

"Clearly how that will manifest itself in 20 months' time, we can only speculate."

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