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England's Participation in 2010 Commonwealth Games in Jeopardy

By Chris Dade     Dec 30, 2009 in Sports
The possibility of its athletes being targeted by terrorists may lead to England withdrawing its team from the 2010 Commonwealth Games due to be held in Delhi, India in October.
Whilst a report in the Telegraph on Tuesday appeared to put the chances of England competing in the 2010 Commonwealth Games as low to almost non-existent subsequent reports, including one by AFP which quotes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the head of Commonwealth Games England, indicate that England is ready to send a team to the Games that are held every four years and involve athletes from 70 different countries.
If England was to withdraw from the Games the teams from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are considered likely to do so as well. And other countries such as Australia and Canada, whose athletes could be terrorist targets because of their nations' presence in Afghanistan, may also announce their withdrawal.
However, according to the Vancouver Sun, a spokesman for the office of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed on Tuesday evening that Canada has no plans at present to withdraw from the Games, explaining:India and Canada share the importance of ensuring the health and security of all our athletes and we’re confident India will host successful Games. We are constantly evaluating terrorist threats in close cooperation with our allies
Questions over England's presence in Delhi intensified after a visit this month to the Indian city by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson. He is said to have raised “serious concerns” about security arrangements in Delhi, prompting an unnamed U.K. government official to declare:If you are an English athlete there is no way you are going to want to risk your life competing at the Games. We currently cannot see any way that England will be able to send a team to Delhi next year
Yet the FCO has reportedly stated that it has not advised teams from the U.K. that they should not compete in India in ten months time, with Ann Hogbin, the head of Commonwealth Games England, adding:Our current and strong intention is to field a team for the Games in Delhi next year.
Of course, we have a duty of care to the athletes and other team members which we take very seriously. Despite having been given extensive briefings from relevant authorities we have not received any indication that we should not participate in the Games and we will continue to work hard to put in place the best possible arrangements for our team
The attacks in Mumbai, India's commercial capital, in November 2008, during which 175 people, including 9 terrorists, were killed, heightened fears regarding the security situation in India and in August of this year the English badminton team declined to take part in the world championships held in Hyderabad.
Attacks by terrorists originating from or trained in Pakistan are the main concern for organizers of the Commonwealth Games, that were first held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada and were then known as the British Empire Games.
The Telegraph notes that the the Indian Premier League cricket tournament was relocated to South Africa for its second season after the Sri Lankan national cricket team was attacked in Pakistan in March.
In addition to worries over security in Delhi, where as many as 6,000 athletes could be competing, there are doubts regarding the progress of construction of the venues for the Games.
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