Commonwealth Games

Security clampdown in Delhi

2010-10-13 11:38

New Delhi - The security clampdown at the Commonwealth Games went into overdrive on Wednesday, a day away from the closing ceremonies and as organisers revealed a third positive doping test in as many days.

Despite pre-games warnings of security issues, the games which began on October 3 have been so far free of any major problems.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said he was unaware of any "new, credible, specific terror threat" in the leadup to Thursday night's closing ceremonies and the men's and women's marathon along city streets.

On Wednesday, Fennell said Rani Yadav, who finished sixth in the 20-kilometer road walk on Saturday, had tested positive to the banned steroid nandralone.

Two Nigerian runners were earlier found to be positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine. Osayomi Oludamola was stripped of her gold medal in the women's 100-meter race. Hurdler Samuel Okon also tested positive.

After television footage of last weekend's cycling road race showed competitors speeding along virtually empty streets due to heavy security, Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said Wednesday that officials were trying to balance the need for extra vigilance with their wish to allow spectators close to the athletes for Thursday's marathon.

But Fennell, who said organisers would not let up in their desire to keep the athletes and officials safe, spent most of his time at a news conference Wednesday talking about doping.

"I think that everyone would concede that to have three doping cases of those 1 300 tests is not a bad record," Fennell said. "And two of those have been concluded for substances that are considered by many to be not in the serious area of doping activity, which is stimulants.

"It would be our desire that there would be no cases because I think all involved in sports would like to have a zero factor when it comes to doping matters. But we have to live with reality."

Organising committee secretary-general Lalit Bhanot said having an athlete from the host country test positive for doping was "unfortunate."

But he found a positive: "It sends a message that if people are going to use drugs, they will get caught," Bhanot said.

The next-to-last day of competition Wednesday included competition for 29 gold medals, including 10 in boxing and the 10-meter platform event in diving featuring Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham of Australia.

At the range, English shooter Mick Gault missed his major target in New Delhi, failing in his attempt to win his 18th Commonwealth Games medal to match the career record held by Australian shooter Phillip Adams. Gault finished seventh in his last event, the 25-meter standard pistol won by Singapore's Gai Bin.

Local organizers have started hitting targets, after a problem-plagued buildup to the games.

Fennell said he was pleased with the way the Delhi games had been conducted. Two weeks before the games began, and when news emerged of the filthy state of the unfinished athletes village, there was even talk of canceling the event.

"I think that what has happened here demonstrates quite clearly that there is a very strong future for the games," Fennell said. "We had a lot of questions about cancellation, but the games have been celebrated in very fine style. Obviously we have to address some of the concerns and improve the product as we go along."

The next Commonwealth Games are scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3.

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