Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Dehli Debacle -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

With less than a fortnight to go until the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the host nation is in
crisis management mode. There are many concerns over security and health with some athletes pulling
out from the Games.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Less than a fortnight from the opening ceremony, organisers of the New
Delhi Commonwealth Games are in crisis management.

Tonight there are reports the roof of the weightlifting venue has partially fallen in - the
incident coming less than 24 hours after a foot bridge built for athletes collapsed, injuring more
than 20 people.

The building issues come on top of other major concerns about security and health, with a shooting
attack on a tourist bus and a dengue fever outbreak.

It's all proved too much for one of Australia's brightest medal hopes, discus world champion Dani
Samuels who's made a shock withdrawal from the event.

Other international competitors are pulling the pin and there are fears more Australians might
follow suit.

Conor Duffy reports.

CONOR DUFFY: Dani Samuels trains till dusk three or four evenings a week at this Western Sydney
oval, following a familiar routine that's seen her scale the heights of her sport.

For the past year the gruelling sessions, overseen by her long term coach Dennis Knowles, have all
been motivated by a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Just nine days ago she was confident the preparation would bring results.

REPORTER (Sept 13): How important is the Commonwealth Games?

DANI SAMUELS: It's very important. I have great memories from my first senior international team
which was Melbourne in 2006. And I somehow came away with a bronze medal from there. So it's
fantastic and like I said, it's a stepping stone on the way to the Olympics. But for us the goal
each year is to always win the gold medal for Australia. So this year it is the Commonwealth Games
and I am going to go out and try my best to do that.

DENNIS KNOWLES: We haven't got complacent over the Commonwealth Games. We've been training and
preparing for this as if it is an Olympic final. We're going there to win it.

(Applause)

CONOR DUFFY: This performance at last year's World Championships saw Dani Samuels become the
sport's youngest female world champion.

COMMENTATOR, BERLIN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Wow! That is a massive throw! That's gone well over the 65
meter line. She could take the lead with that one throw. She's in great form, she really is.

(Dani Samuels screams)

COMMENTATOR: She has taken the lead by 24 centimetres. Well this is quite remarkable.

CONOR DUFFY: It was a win that surprised many and led to predictions that Dani Samuels could
dominate the sport for years to come.

COMMENTATOR: Breaking personal bests on every throw so far...

DANI SAMUELS: It was something I have been dreaming of all year pretty much. Every time- I wrote
down my goals on my wardrobe so it was the first thing I saw in the morning, was "Win the world
championship in Berlin and have fun doing it", so anybody outside my camp probably didn't expect
for me to win, but inside our camp we knew that I was training really well.

DENNIS KNOWLES: Be strong at the front. Strong on your left side and long on your right side. Got
it?

CONOR DUFFY: Both Dani Samuels and Dennis Knowles were confident of adding to her medal tally in
Delhi, but today the discus champion explained her surprise decision to pull out of the Games.

DANI SAMUELS: For over a year now I have been solely focused on winning a gold medal at the
Commonwealth Games New Delhi, for myself, my family, for my team, and of course for Australia.
However it has reached the point now where I cannot justify competing in India as I believe there
are too many potential hazards to my health, my well being and my life, all of which I am not
willing to jeopardise.

DENNIS KNOWLES: She's in good shape and everything was going fine and then about a week ago I just
noticed a bit of a change in her.

I said 'You look a bit frustrated, you're training like you just want to get it over and done with
and get out of here', which is not normal for her. And I am sure then things were going through her
mind, and then finally - 'cause she confides in me, we're very close. So she told me about it and
we discussed it and I didn't try and talk her out of it. I don't think it was fair to do that. And
she made her decision yesterday.

(to Dani) Work on your rhythm, work on your balance, work on your timing because the execution's
been good...

CONOR DUFFY: Dennis Knowles has coached Dani Samuels since she was nine years old and says it's a
decision she's agonised over.

In the last week, though, a terrorist attack that injured two Taiwanese nationals and a dengue
fever outbreak have tipped the scales.

DENNIS KNOWLES: Oh yeah, she has wrestled with it alright. There's no doubt. Because she's such a
girl that she hates to let people down and if she feels she is letting the team down or letting me
down - especially me - she wouldn't like that. But I can assure her that I'm in full support of her
decision.

Nothing changes between me and Dani, nothing whatsoever. We just go on the way we have always done.

DANI SAMUELS: My feelings won't allow me to get on the plane to New Delhi. Anyone who knows me
would realise I put every ounce of energy and passion into training and competing for my country. I
have not trained due to stress and I have also not opened the team uniform that was delivered to my
house.

CONOR DUFFY: There are fears in sporting circles that a wave of other withdrawals will follow.

For Dani Samuels, her focus will know be on next year's World Championships and the London
Olympics.

In her interview nine days ago she spoke of her enthusiasm for continuing to train for those
events.

DANI SAMUELS: I sort of maintain the attitude that you know, I am here to enjoy myself. I love what
I do and just go out there and have fun and there is no pressure on me because I'm doing this
because I love it.

DENNIS KNOWLES: I hope other athletes do go ahead and compete and do well in all sports. I'd like
to see that. And as far as Dani is concerned she will get over this and we haven't seen the best of
Dani Samuels. The best is yet to come so this is just the one that has got away unfortunatley.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Tough decision. Conor Duffy with that report.