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Widmer: If In Doubt, Leave Delhi Out

Sep 28, 2010  - Craig Lord

Aussie coach Stephan Widmer has told the Australian media that he would rather see any swimmer with remaining doubts about their participation at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi next week miss the flight to India.

Athletes will get their final briefing today before heading to check-in tomorrow for a Games that has courted atrocious publicity over security risks and "filthy" living conditions in the Athletes' Village. But Widmer told reporters: "I think for some it has eased [doubt] a little bit. For some other ones it hasn't shifted it yet. I've told them there's no right or wrong. It has to be right for you. If you hop on the plane then it has to be entirely your free decision. 

"I've never faced anything like this. We are yet to find out what will happen [today]. Will everyone be on the plane? I don't know. If I really had the feeling for someone it is not right then I maybe would recommend certain things. If it's not right for someone then no I don't want them [going]. I don't think you want someone with potential fear around you that influences others, so I probably don't want them to be amongst the group."

What a way to have to approach a meet, and a  big international one at that. 

Breaststroke ace Christian Sprenger is among those who still have doubts but he wishes to get on the plane. "If you start seeing one or two drop off you think `oh man, maybe I should be one of those as well'," he told reporters. But if no-one does it in the swimming team it makes you feel like we're all in this together. I don't think anyone will drop off in all honesty. I think we're all going to go in there and fight to the end."

Hopefully, that sentiment will remain a sports one and not have to be taken literally.

Swimming starts on October 4.