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Athletes right to boycott shambolic Commonwealths.

I HEARD a news report a couple of weeks ago saying that Wales was all set to enjoy two major sporting events.

Well there's the Ryder Cup, but I was scratching my head for the other one.

The Rugby League Alitalia European Cup? The Loosemores Welsh Premier League Cup quarter finals? Tiddlywinks? Then it hit me like a discus thrown by a Gibraltarian which was nowhere near the Olympic qualifying distance... the Commonwealth Games.

That weird event where a collection of countries who used to be friends/subjects/prisoners a century ago all come together to try and beat their historical overlords. Yes, exactly like cricket.

You see I'd forgotten about the Commonwealths, but I'm in good company because it seems India had too.

Unfinished accommodation for competitors, Delhi belly and murmurings of terrorist threats.

That's enough to get you running just that little bit faster.

Now the Indian government could say their lack of progress and failure to finish things to a high standard - so far - is a cultural thing.

They'll say their workers tend to build things to a certain degree then rush at the very end, putting in a huge amount of resources to finish it. That's the way they do things on the sub continent and it must be quite successful because we send trade delegation after delegation trying to get their business.

I do hope they don't make Tata cars like that though.

I've heard another theory that our athletes are being a bit precious, that the standards of hygiene and services expected are a bit high and they should just get on with it. Dunkirk spirit and all that.

Well looking at the pictures of the athletes' accommodation I think it's a little bit more than your phone charger plug not working properly.

And I think a footbridge not collapsing or a ceiling refraining from hitting them on the head during competition is a reasonable expectation.

Due to this most of the top athletes - such as Phillips Idowu - don't really want to go, citing injury as their reason.

It's not right when people are absolutely dreading a major sporting event.

For many in the Welsh squad it's their one chance to appear on the big stage and I certainly don't begrudge them that.

They've worked hard to get this far and they don't want the Games devalued by competitors pulling out.

But to be honest I don't blame them for choosing not go, injured or otherwise.

The British teams as a whole have to go - they are the Commonwealth - and with the games in Scotland next time around they have to show up to make sure they survive.

Of course the Daily Post backs it and wish our competitors the very best.

But we can't go over there and cover it.

We're all, er, injured.

Geraint Thomas pulls out of Commonwealths - Page11


It's little wonder athletes are pulling out of the games when their accommodation in India is unfit for human habitat
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 24, 2010
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