Bombings wouldn’t faze me - Cathy
From: AAP April 21, 2010
CATHY Freeman says she would not let security concerns distract her if she was a competitor at the upcoming Delhi Commonwealth Games.
The athletics legend said if she was running now, the ongoing security concerns would not stop her going in October.
The weekend bombings outside an Indian Premier League cricket venue in Bangalore have highlighted concerns about the safety of those attending the October 3-14 Games.
"As an athlete I was pretty ruthless and very focussed,’’ Freeman said.
"I was very unfazed by any kind of external goings-on, once I knew what my target was, I stayed committed.
"Nothing could really take me away from an arena of competition.
"My priority was just to compete and compete against the best there was.’’
But Freeman also acknowledged that potential members of the Australian team and people thinking of visiting India for the Games might be unsure about safety.
"We’re all individuals, we’re all different and we’re all entitled to our differing opinions, that’s what makes the world go around,’’ she said.
Freeman, a four-time Commonwealth champion, was part of a ceremony today in Melbourne to mark the visit of the Queen’s baton.
The baton carries a message from the Queen that will be read at the Games opening ceremony this October.
Freeman and fellow Games gold medallist Steve Moneghetti ran the last leg of a short baton relay along the Yarra River.
Moneghetti will be the Australian team’s chef de mission at these Games.
"Obviously we’re monitoring it - it’s good we’re talking about it and aware of it,’’ Moneghetti said.
"It’s high on everyone’s agenda, I was there a month ago and it was very safe and secure.
"I’m really looking forward to going back … it’s such a cosmopolitan place and a place you really fall in love with.’’
Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite said their position had not changed - this country will send a team to the Games.
"Certainly it (the weekend bombings) is not a good thing, but it doesn’t affect our current position,’’ Crosswhite said.
"Right now, we’re going to the Games and as we said all along, if athletes (or officials) don’t want to go to the Games, that’s their decision and it won’t be held against them.
"I’m very confident the actual athletes will be protected, the safest place will be the (athletes) village in Delhi, the venues and the transport routes there and from.
"Outside of that, my recommendations would be … people going there, they have a look at the travel advisory from the federal government.’’
The Games athletics team was named following the national titles in Perth and Moneghetti said Australia would be particularly strong in field events.
Fabrice Lapierre won the long jump at the nationals with 8.78m - the sixth-best jump in history.
"My God - he was taking off, I thought he was on the plane six months early,’’ Moneghetti said.