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NEW DELHI: A few members of South Africa's Commonwealth Games contingent, including Gregg Clark, men's hockey coach, and Liezel Wium, skipper of the women's netball outfit, accompanied their Chef de Mission, Patience Shikwambana, for the official team press conference on Thursday.
“My athletes have all they need. We now feel like a part of India,” said Shikwambana. “Our team has settled down. We moved into the Games Village on Tuesday and have started to train. I must say, we are very happy with the arrangements. There were some issues with the accommodation, but they have been sorted out,” she added.
Clark, who will mastermind South Africa's interests in hockey, said he was used to the conditions, having been a part of the hockey World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year. “If anything, the venue has improved from the time the World Cup was conducted. Everybody who competes hopes to win a medal,” he said, when asked of his team's chances.
Clean and tested
Shuaib Manjra, Chief Medical Officer, said the team was all clean, as far as doping was concerned. “We have a robust anti-doping policy. Any athlete that reaches this stage has been thoroughly tested. We are also pleased that a world-class anti-doping programme is in place for the Games,” he said.
While assuring the press that the injury-induced withdrawal of its 800 m star, Caster Semenya, would not dampen the spirit of her contingent, Shikwambana said, “Our primary goal is to retain our position in the last Games. Anything above that will be a bonus.”
South Africa had finished in fifth place with 38 medals in the 2006 Melbourne Games. A sore spot at the press conference was the non-availibity of a ramp leading up to the dais, which caused the absence on stage of South Africa's differently-abled power-lifter, Eugene Popov. — Principal Correspondent
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