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Leading English athletes to skip Delhi C'wealth Games: report

December 24, 2009 13:16 IST

The athletics and gymnastics events at 2010 Commonwealth Games could lose its sheen as several leading English sportspersons are likely to skip the quadrennial sporting extravaganza to focus on the 2012 London Olympics.

Besides Olympics heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton and long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis, Beth Tweddle, Dan Keatings and Louis Smith are some names who have reportedly decided to give the Delhi Games a miss.

"For some of the 17 sports, Commonwealth Games gold is the pinnacle achievement in an athlete's career. But a host of top names from athletics and gymnastics have decided not to travel to next year's games in Delhi as London 2012 looms," The Telegraph reported.

Team England's chef de mission Craig Hunter, however, tried to allay the fear of mass withdrawals from the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"Let's wait until we board the plane in September. The majority of the household names have said they will be there, but a lot of things can happen along the way," Hunter was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The Commonwealth Games are being viewed as a pathway to London Olympics and some sportspersons are looking to give final touches to their preparation at the Delhi event.

"That's a challenge for us. We want to achieve our best ever Games. We are continually raising the bar to be the top nation in the Commonwealth," Hunter said.

Meanwhile, double Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington has promised to travel to Delhi and said a gold medal "will be a highlight of my career".

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