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Commonwealth Games 2010: UKA concern at Games absentees

2010 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Venue: Delhi, India Dates: 3-14 October 2010 Coverage: The opening ceremony is due to begin at 1430 BST on Sunday, 3 October. Comprehensive live coverage across BBC TV, radio, online, BBC Red Button, mobile and BBC iPlayer services. Full coverage details here. Full schedule of events here.


Jessica Ennis
Ennis is just one of a host of top British athletes missing Delhi

The head coach of UK Athletics fears public expectation may suffer because of the non-appearance of a number of stars at the Commonwealth Games.

Several British medal contenders for the 2012 Olympics have not travelled including Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Phillips Idowu and Christine Ohuruogu.

And it is not an ideal scenario, admits Charles van Commenee, as other nations send top teams out to Delhi.

"We are concerned momentum and public perception will be harmed," he said.

Great Britain won a record 19 medals at this summer's European Championships at a time when the other Commonwealth Games competing nations could concentrate on preparing for Delhi.

"They come out with the complete team and they are armed and prepared," stated van Commenee of other teams.

"For us it's the dessert after dinner. The fact we have a lot of athletes not going, that will tell you the expectations have to be realistic. There's very little I can do about it.

JAMES PEARCE'S BLOG

"I am concerned about it but at one point you have to weigh the minuses and the pluses. If the next Olympic Games were not in London you may take a different approach.

"We think long term and therefore we had a certain policy in selection for Barcelona, the same for the European Indoors in Paris [next March] and in that complete picture the Commonwealth Games has a certain place, not as prominent as it used to be.

Van Commenee does not have an official role in Delhi but will certainly be a very interested spectator as some of Britain's lesser lights look to take their chance to shine on the big stage.

"I'm more interested in the athletes who have not made that name for themselves yet," he added. "I would like to see Dave Hughes in the 400m hurdles.

"He has switched events from 110m to 400m and is running very decent times in his first year. If he can make a final that would make me really happy.

"If Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson could win a medal in a world-class field in the long jump that would be super.

"I see it as a great opportunity to develop, to grow. I have never made it a big objective for the year, I never mentioned it. I never encouraged athletes to take part, never discouraged them either. I've taken a very neutral stance."



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see also
English trio out of Commonwealths
22 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Ennis to sit out rest of season
05 Aug 10 |  Athletics
Swimmer Davies carries Wales flag
02 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Warnings not heeded - Games chief
01 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
England athletes move to village
27 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
'No row' over Delhi Games opening
28 Sep 10 |  South Asia


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