Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Some of his countrymen might have opted out of the Commonwealth Games due to security and hygiene issues, but veteran Australian hockey player Jamie Dwyer on Monday said he has no concerns travelling to Delhi for the crisis-hit mega-event even though his pregnant wife is little apprehensive.

"We've got a baby son and another one is on the way in December so my wife doesn't really like me going to India as much as she would, say, Scotland or Canada. But she's been there herself, in 2007, and she knows a little about how they work in India," said Dwyer, who is married to former Dutch hockey player Leoni.

"She's a little bit worried but...she's not trying to convince me to stay or anything like that. I'm entirely comfortable about going. I've never had a concern about going this time to India.

"I am entirely comfortable. I've been there three or four times before and we were lucky enough to be there in March for the World Cup," he was quoted as saying by the Australian media ahead of the team's departure on Wednesday.

So far, three Australian athletes have pulled out of the Games -- cyclist Travis Meyer, table tennis player Stephanie Sang and discus world champion Dani Samuels, citing security and unhygienic conditions.
But Dwyer said he has plenty of experience of Indian conditions and will definitely be a part of the team as the Kookaburras chase their fourth consecutive Games gold.

"We've been to Delhi a few times with the team and we sort of know how to prepare ourselves for this type of environment. It's nothing new to us really. It's just how they are over there, I guess. They do things differently," he said.

"When you go to those countries you have to be vigilant in what you eat and drink, and just have to be a bit more careful, but I'm very comfortable with what I will be eating and drinking and where I'll be sleeping," added the three-time world player of the year.

Australia has been a dominant force in hockey in the Commonwealth Games as they lost only one match and claimed every gold medal since the sport's introduction in the quadrennial event in 1998.

The Kookaburras will go into the tournament as favourites after an unbeaten 12-month run during which they won the World Cup earlier this year in New Delhi and the Champions Trophy in Germany. They had also won last December's Champions Trophy in Melbourne.

The 31-year-old striker said Australia will use the Delhi Games to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics. "We've had a really good 20 months under (coach) Ric Charlesworth and this is the last major tournament before we have to start concentrating on London," Dwyer said.

"We really want to put up a good performance, bring home a gold medal and that would cap off a great two years.

"I want to win the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. That's my two main goals," he added.