Pullouts by top athletes will not dilute the track and field competition, the organising committee of the Delhi Commonwealth Games has said.
Jamaica’s triple Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt sparked a series of Games snubs with world record holder David Rudisha (800 metres), Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu (400m) and world champion Dani Samuels (discus) joining him on the sidelines.
Secretary general of the Games organising committee, Lalit Bhanot still expects the track and field events to be fiercely contested.
“Every event goes through this problem (pullouts) but every Games give birth to new champions as well,” Bhanot said.
“I can assure you the level of competition is going to be high. I have seen the entries and the performance level is going to be better than the last Commonwealth Games.”
Bhanot’s comments received support.”The competition in athletics is going to be very tough. I am expecting a good performance from the athletes,” said P.T. Usha, who narrowly missed bronze in the 400 metres hurdles event of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
While some of the athletes withdrew citing health and security apprehensions, Usha blamed timing of the event for other pullouts.
“I think the scheduling for the Games and injuries are mostly to blame for the pullouts,” she said. “It is the end of the season for the European athletes, so there are obviously injury scares.”
India’s former national coach J.S. Saini also downplayed the impact of no_shows.”Bolt not coming to Delhi is a disappointment more for the spectators.
Of late he has not been best and his absence would not make a huge difference,” said Saini, referring to the Jamaican’s 100 metre loss to Tyson Gay in Stockholm last month.
“I don’t think one or two withdrawals in any discipline lowers the competition level. You do not expect world records at Commonwealth Games after all.
“If any thing, I think it’s the timing of the Games that matters more. After a long season, the European athletes are fatigued and cannot give their best.