Australia to send big team to Commonwealth Games

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Australia to send big team to Commonwealth Games

Australia's Victoria state Premier John Brumby speaks with officials as they look at a stadium model during a visit to The Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, which is being renovated for The Commonwealth Games 2010. (AFP Photo)

Sydney:  Australia plans to send its largest team to an offshore Commonwealth Games next year with 425 athletes designated for New Delhi, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association said on Friday.

With October 3 marking one year to the start of the New Delhi Games, ACGA chief executive Perry Crosswhite said Australia was looking to once again improve on its medal tally.

Since the 1990 Auckland Games, where Australia claimed 52 gold in a total of 162 medals, Australia has improved its overall medal tally at every one of the past five Games.

"The aim of the 2010 Australian team will be to better our performance at the last 2006 Games in Melbourne and win at least 221 medals. However this will be a significant challenge," Crosswhite said.

Australia's best performance at a Commonwealth Games was in Melbourne where 84 gold medals were secured.

"In Delhi there will be no home advantage, the programme now includes wrestling and archery, two sports which Australia hasn't been traditionally strong in, whilst basketball and triathlon have been dropped," he said.

"Next year we will also face a challenge from England to our previous run of dominance.

"Their sports and athletes have been provided with a significant amount of funding from the UK government seeking success in London at the 2012 Olympics.

"As well as the old foes, challenges to our 2010 medal tally are expected from Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia and India, who are very committed to showing success at home."

Crosswhite said it will cost 13 million dollars (12 million US) to send the large Australian contingent to prepare and participate in New Delhi.

"This works out to around 20,000 dollars per team member spread over the four years leading up to, and including the Games time," he said.

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Crosswhite said up to 175 officials will accompany the Australian team to India.



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