Hockey star still keen for games
THE possibility of a terrorist attack on his potential Commonwealth Games debut is a risk former Kingscliff hockey player Jason Wilson is willing to take.
The 22-year-old Australian Kookaburra squad member said he hopes to make it to New Delhi for the games, despite claims from a security expert the Indian capital is vulnerable to terror activity.
Mr Wilson yesterday acknowledged the matter was out of his control and he can only hope everyone does their jobs right and he tried not to think about it.
“The way I try to look at it, everyone is going to do everything they can to make it safe for us,” Mr Wilson told the Tweed Daily News.
He said the matter has been discussed within his squad, who are due to travel to New Delhi next month for the International Hockey Federation World Cup.
The squad also includes former Burringbar hockey sensation Matthew Butturini, 22.
“We’ve been talking about it in the squad but more about the World Cup because it’s coming up first. It will be a similar situation for us if we make it to the Commonwealth Games though,” Mr Wilson said.
“It’s out of our hands so we’ve decided not to worry about it. We just want to have fun and represent Australia.”
Should he qualify, Mr Wilson would return to New Delhi in October for the Commonwealth Games.
Leading international security consultant Lloyd Bromfield told News Limited newspapers last week the Indian capital was not prepared for a potential terror attack.
He said “the worst-case scenario could be a major bombing.”
“It could be a Mumbai-style attack, where you’ve got a team of Osamas running around with hand grenades and small arms. It could be anything,” Mr Bromfield said.
“I wouldn’t suggest it would be an aeroplane into a stadium, but you have to consider everything because these people have the capability, they have the intent, the motivation.”
Acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean said the decision on whether Australia participates in the Commonwealth Games will be made by sporting bodies, not the government.
“In the end, it is not a decision for the government whether the team actually goes,” Mr Crean said.
“It is a decision for the athletes. It is also a decision for the sporting bodies.
“At this stage, we continue to say there is no reason for concern. That is a view that has been expressed by the sporting bodies and by a number of athletes.”
The government has been in constant contact with authorities in New Delhi regarding security, he added.
Federal Moncrieff MP and opposition sports minister Steven Ciobo said the Rudd government must guarantee the safety of all team members or provide them with security briefings so they can make up their own minds about going to India.
“The Rudd government must provide an assurance to Australian athletes and their families they will be completely safe,” Mr Ciobo said.
“Anything less than an assurance requires full disclosure of the facts so athletes and their families are in a position to make an informed decision.”
Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite said the risk athletes face is manageable but it is up to them to decide to attend.
“At this stage we have no reason to believe the Games will not be an acceptable level of risk,” Mr Crosswhite said.
“But that doesn’t mean it can’t change.
“As to whether athletes go or not, that’s their own decision. We don’t force anyone to go to the Games.”
The Commonwealth Games will be held in India’s capital in October.