Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

New Delhi Was Not a Good Choice

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

New Delhi Was Not a Good Choice

Article excerpt

ROBBED of Olympic gold but never her voice, Raelene Boyle has long been a vocal protector of Australian athletics.

On the eve of the troubled Delhi Commonwealth Games, Ms Boyle AM, MBE takes aim at the Commonwealth Games Federation over what she believes is its tarnishing of a celebrated global brand that means so much to her and many other people.

The retired sprint legend a the winner of a record seven Commonwealth Games gold medals a says serious questions need to be asked over the decision to stage the four-yearly event in New Delhi.

With widespread talk of nations, including Australia, pulling out of the Games because of the shambolic state of the athletes' village and many venues, the Buderim-based icon shines a light on the impact such a move would have on the athletes.

Having endured the pain of missing the boycotted 1980 Moscow Olympics, Ms Boyle knows only too well what it is like to train for something for years, only to have it yanked from your grasp at the last minute.

The three-time Olympic silver medallist, who finished second to drug-tainted East German Renate Stecher in the 100m and 200m at the 1972 Munich Olympics, knows that for some Australian athletes this will be their only chance to compete in a Commonwealth Games.

She's stunned that the CGF would jeopardise that by staging the event in such a volatile part of the world, especially given it is fighting to maintain the Games relevance on a global sporting stage now crowded with big-ticket offerings.

But ultimately, the decision on whether to compete in the Games or pull out rests with each athlete, and Ms Boyle knows there can be a mental toll to pay for such soul-searching.

"It was a very poor move by the powers that be (to hold the Games in Delhi)," she says, aand they should take a certain amount of blame for what's happening now.

"It's just a very sad situation for the athletes, who have been programmed and training to run at these games.

"It's a very sad situation what's happening, and it's a very difficult situation."

Ms Boyle, who also won two Commonwealth Games silver medals, is scheduled to travel to Delhi next Saturday to commentate on the track events for Foxtel. …

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