Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England Are off to Games; but More Individual Athletes Withdraw from the Competition

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England Are off to Games; but More Individual Athletes Withdraw from the Competition

Article excerpt

ENGLAND came to the rescue of the beleaguered Commonwealth Games by announcing last night it will send a full team to New Delhi.

Commonwealth Games England and its 17 member sports yesterday "unanimously agreed" that they will go to the Delhi Games, a statement said.

Scotland and Wales have also said they have been heartened by reassurances but more individual athletes have pulled out of the event, which starts on October 3. Cyclists Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift have all withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games with health concerns.

Wales' Thomas, Isle of Man's Kennaugh and English duo Stannard and Swift all ride for Team Sky, but it was stressed the decisions were made by the individual riders.

Thomas and Kennaugh expressed fears over the mosquito borne illness Dengue fever. "It was entirely the athletes' decision," a British Cycling spokesperson confirmed last night.

British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford, also principal of Team Sky, stressed the decision to withdraw was made by the individuals concerned.

"These situations are down to the choice of the athletes themselves," Brailsford said on www.teamsky.com. "We at Team Sky can make recommendations to the athletes but the ultimate decision lies with them.

"Given the situation they have found themselves in with the Commonwealth Games, nobody would blame the athletes for staying away, but there is no instruction from Team Sky on this issue. "We at Team Sky will support them in whatever decision they make."

The Delhi Games, which are scheduled to take place from October 3 to 14, have been riddled with problems and athlete withdrawals have marred the competition from the start.

In cycling, Scotland's Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton of England announced in July they would be forced to miss the Games in order to compete at November's European Championships, where Olympic qualification points will be on offer.

Thomas, Kennaugh and Swift were all due to compete in track and road events in Delhi and Stannard was set to ride on the road, with all four potential medallists. …

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