OC official surprised at New Zealand’s talk of security concern (Lead)

September 13th, 2010 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington/New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) Monday said it will wait for its chef-de-mission Dave Currie’s return from a 10-day visit to New Delhi for an on-the-spot assessment before taking a final decision on participation in the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand have gone in for a joint operation with Canada, Australia, England and Wales to assess security and preparedness for the Games.

Organising Committee vice-chairman Randhir Singh told IANS that he is “surprised” at New Zealand’s stand since all participating nations have been briefed about security and convinced them that nothing would be left to chance.

“It is surprising. The officials of the participating nations have been briefed more than once about security measures. The Indian government has convinced them that there should be no cause for concern over the security situation. So there should not be any problem on that count.”

“Let them come and assess the situation,” Randhir said.

New Zealand have confirmed entries of 325 athletes and team officials, the fifth largest contingent after hosts India, Australia, England and Canada.

NZOC top management insisted they would not compromise one bit on the security of the athletes.

“We will come back and (report that) either it will be okay or we don’t think this is viable,” Dave Currie was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.

The security assessment will include whether basic amenities are working, such as showers and toilets, the state of security round the food in the athletes’ village through to issues including transport and health.

The NZOC president Mike Stanley said while the five countries will be monitoring the situation jointly, there won’t be a collective decision taken on whether to continue with the Games or not.

“It is going to be a collective consultation and collaboration in all of this, but we are an independent body and will make our own decision based on that,” said Stanley.

“Naturally if you engage with a group of nations of a high level of expertise and who have got similar sorts of experience with the Games, obviously we’ll take on board their view. But at the end of the day it’s our decision.”

Currie was critical of sports sections within the New Zealand team who have employed independent advisories seeking extra information on top of the NZOC assessments.

“To me there is no logic. Our netball, hockey and rugby teams have chosen to do it, but I don’t know why they have done it,” said Currie, who will leave for India Tuesday.

He also held the media responsible for the speculation around the Games. “It’s not helpful when people speculate round the situation, whether it be dengue fever or 1,000 athletes that haven’t arrived. That’s mischievous in my view and there’s no basis for that at all.”

Both Stanley and Currie reiterated that the athletes’ security is top priority.

“There will be a ring of steel round the village like you won’t believe,” Currie said.

Stanley said that “if the New Zealand Government can’t advise that our athletes will be safe, then we won’t go”.

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