Commonwealth Games

Pull-out 'never an option'

2010-10-02 12:59
Rebecca Adlington (AFP)

New Delhi - England's Rebecca Adlington on Saturday said that pulling out of the troubled New Delhi Commonwealth Games was never an option and is looking forward to competing after inconsistent recent form.

The Games, which open in the Indian capital on Sunday, were last week threatened with mass withdrawals after complaints from some teams about the standard of accommodation, hygiene and security fears.

A number of big name stars, particularly in showpiece events like athletics and cycling, have already withdrawn.

But Adlington, the Olympic 400m and 800 freestyle champion, who also holds the world record at the longer distance, said she was always looking forward to competing in an event stuffed with world-class swimmers and emerging talent.

"I have never ever thought I was going to pull out," the 21-year-old told a news conference at the athletes' village, adding that she always had full confidence in Team England's officials.

"They've got our personal interest at heart. I thought it was never going to come to that," she added.

Adlington goes in the 200m freestyle - her first at international level - the 400m, where she leads Australia's Bronte Barratt, Katie Goldman and Kylie Palmer in the rankings this year, and the 800m, where again she is favourite.

The 200m is the first final in the pool on Monday.

Adlington described her recent form as "up and down" after finishing only seventh in the 800m at the European Championships in Budapest in August, where she also won gold in the 400m.

"I just went away from the Europeans and have worked really, really hard since then over five or six weeks," she told reporters.

"I'm just so excited. It's my first Commonwealth Games. We've had an amazing holding camp in Doha and the whole team is swimming very, very well."

England's team contains many of the Great Britain swimmers who turned in their best ever performance at the Europeans and are likely to be the main challengers to dominant force Australia, particularly in the women's events.

Fran Halsall, who won two gold, two silver and one bronze in Budapest, is looking to match the six-medal haul of Melanie Marshall in Melbourne four years ago, which equalled the record set by an England athlete at a single Games.

"I got five medals (in the Europeans). If I can repeat that I'll be a happy girl," said the 20-year-old.

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