Sydney: Australia's Commonwealth Games chief said on Thursday that he cannot guarantee the safety of his country's athletes at next year's games in New Delhi, and will let them decide whether they want to compete.
Following last November's terror attacks in Mumbai that left 172 dead and more than 300 injured, organisers have put in place extra resources to secure the October 3-14 games in 2010. Yet the event is clouded by the perception that India is still unsafe.
Australia pulled out of a Davis Cup tennis tie in the southern city of Chennai in May, while England withdrew from the world badminton championships in Hyderabad in August, despite no specific terror threats against either event. Both countries are expected to be the main draws at next year's Games in the Indian capital.
The Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) has met with representatives from each of the 18 competing sports, and none have yet said they plan to skip New Delhi, association chief Perry Crosswhite said.
Some of Australian sport's biggest names - including swimmers Stephanie Rice and Leisel Jones, track and field stars Steve Hooker and Jana Rawlinson, cyclists Cadel Evans and Anna Meares and tennis players Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur - are in line to compete at the Games.
"We have said to all the sports that the decision on whether athletes go or not is theirs," Crosswhite said.