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England's Dr Mike Loosemore on the challenges in Delhi

Team England's Dr Mike Loosemore and BBC Sport's Rishi Persad
Team England's Dr Mike Loosemore tells BBC Sport's Rishi Persad about the challenges he has faced in Delhi

By Rishi Persad
BBC Sport reporter in Delhi

England's athletes need not worry about the dreaded "Delhi belly", dengue fever or any other illness that some cynical people believe is inevitable on a journey to the subcontinent.

Their knight in shining armour is chief medical officer Dr Mike Loosemore, who has been preparing for the Commonwealth Games for almost a year now and is incredibly relaxed about the challenges that lie ahead.

He has a strategy geared up to serve and protect England's team of more than 500 athletes competing in Delhi and will draw on a wealth of international experience, including some gained at the 2008 Youth Games in Pune.

I eat my toast with a knife and fork, just to show you can do it hands-free!

Dr Mike Loosemore

"I'd say Delhi has been more challenging than any other Games I've ever done," he admitted when I interviewed him earlier this week.

"Hopefully we're rising to that challenge but time will tell whether we overcome it."

Each athlete is given their own individual medical goody bag containing all the essentials to prevent and cure most threats, including hand gel, insect repellent, mosquito spray and all the Imodium that you can use.

Dengue fever has played a prominent role in the cast of reasons listed by the scaremongers for avoiding Delhi, however Dr Loosemore thinks that the threat of catching the illness is minimal.

He says mosquito levels are quite low in the athletes village, helped by the practice of "fogging" - spraying lots of chemical repellent everywhere.

If there are problems, there are "pathways" in place to expedite treatment and ensure athletes are given the best possible attention.

The "regular" issues of competing overseas in a hot climate have also been catered for and each of England's athletes has been briefed on how best to handle the heat, and most importantly avoid dehydration.

Dr Loosemore explained that Team England are aware that the danger of being infected by a stomach bug is very real but is countered by a number of preventative measures based around good quality personal hygiene.

"It's important to make sure everyone is well-informed and remembers that they're not in England, the conditions are different," he said.

"They've all been briefed beforehand but when you've been here a while the caution goes and you do things you shouldn't do.

"I see them in the dining hall and give them a gentle reminder. I eat my toast with a knife and fork, just to show you can do it hands-free!"



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