NZ could pull out of Delhi Games over security concerns

New Zealand were committed to competing at next month’s Delhi Commonwealth Games but would have no hesitation pulling out if any security concerns were raised, team management said on Monday.

“Anyone suggesting that we are going to put our athletes at risk is mischievous,” New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) president Mike Stanley told reporters in Auckland.

“Right now, New Zealand is planning to be in Delhi. If things change and the New Zealand Government can’t advise us that our athletes are secure in that environment, then we won’t go.”

Seven New Zealand police officers would join a multinational contingent of more than 40 police from Canada, Australia, and Britain, who would also provide advice to team management and additional security for the Oct. 3-14 Games, Stanley said.

“We believe this is the best way to securing our team,” he said. “We have a multinational approach which is well organised. We are confident it will provide our team with the advice it needs to make the most appropriate decisions.”

Stanley said the security assessment would be ongoing and there was no deadline for a final decision on participation. “That could be right up until the start of the Games and it will be monitored (throughout),” he added.

“It’s just one of those things we have to be vigilant about and we have to take it on a day-by-day basis.”

New Zealand’s chef de mission Dave Currie leaves for Delhi on Tuesday to undertake a final inspection of facilities and security, with the first New Zealand athletes due in the Indian capital on Sept. 25.