Melbourne:In what would come as music to the ears of an embattled Organising Committee, Australia is planning to send its largest-ever delegation of over 600 athletes and officials, including Olympic and world champions, for next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
"Australia is planning to send a full team of over 600 athletes, coaches, managers, medicos and officials. The team will be the largest ever to compete in an overseas Commonwealth Games campaign with the first round of team nominations including the provisional selection of eight track and field athletes, including world champions Steve Hooker and Dani Samuels," Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) said in a statement.
Pole vaulter Hooker is a gold medallist from the Beijing Olympics where he set an Olympic record of 6.06m. Samuels is the youngest ever female discus thrower to become a world champion.
ACGA CEO Perry Crosswhite said not a single athlete has raised any security concerns about travelling to India.
"To date the questions have been about the weather predictions and the sports venues, and, of course, what the food and the village are going to be like," he said.
Crosswhite also welcomed England's rebuttal of the media reports saying that English athletes would not be taking part in the event fearing terror strikes during the Games.
"I am very pleased to hear that England has confirmed that it will send a full team Delhi," Crosswhite said.
"Australia is looking forward to renewing the traditional England-Australia rivalry at the Indian hosted Commonwealth Games and I expect that the competition as to which nation will win the most medals will be closer than ever," he added.
Crosswhite said media reports which cast doubts on the Games' success without even quoting their sources should not be given much importance.
"It is indeed unfortunate that such prominence has been given to a media report, particularly as the source was unnamed.
"Having returned from Delhi several weeks ago where I received a substantial briefing on security measures both planned and in place for the Games, I believe that those responsible for Games security in Delhi are doing everything they can to ensure a successful Games," Crosswhite said.
To be held from October 3 to 14, the 2010 Commonwealth Games will have 19 sports on the program, making it the largest Games to date.