First Australian athletes land in Delhi

16:14, September 27, 2010      

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Australia's first Commonwealth Games athletes on Monday arrived in Delhi of India, vowing to keep an open mind despite the troubled build-up to the Commonwealth event.

Australia's lawn bowls team became the first to touch down in India at 3:00am local time on Monday to begin preparations for the event starting in six days.

Despite ongoing security and health concerns in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games, the bleary-eyed athletes appeared in good spirits and were confident they were well prepared for the experience.

"We've been pretty well informed by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association and the bowls team has been here before in April so we're looking forward to it," first-time competitor Brett Wilkie told Australia Associated Press (AAP) on Monday.

"Who'd have thought lawn bowls would lead Australia into battle?"

Lynsey Armitage, a 2006 Games gold medallist, said the competitors were also keen to see their accommodation after reports some areas of the athletes' village were not up to scratch.

"We've heard reports but we'd like to see for ourselves," Armitage told AAP.

"We're going in without expectations and what we see is what we get."

Armitage said the bowls team had high expectations in Delhi after claiming three gold medals, a silver and a bronze in Melbourne.

"There's a fair bit of pressure, but we're pretty confident," she said.

Australia's athletes will continue to arrive in the coming days, with netball and gymnastics competitors due to arrive later on Monday.

The first arrivals came a day after two more Australians - cyclist Travis Meyer and table tennis player Stephanie Sang - pulled out of the event due to safety and health worries, joining discus world champion Dani Samuels, who dropped out last week.

Australian Games chief Perry Crosswhite said on Sunday he was confident the athletes would find living arrangements, food and security acceptable when they arrived.

Source: Xinhua


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