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CWG: Aussie boycott threat rocks Games

Commonwealth Game organisers were facing another potential body blow on the penultimate day of competiton following a report that top dogs Australia were threatening to boycott the closing ceremony.

delhi Updated: Oct 13, 2010 10:32 IST

Commonwealth Game organisers were facing another potential body blow on the penultimate day of competiton on Wednesday following a report that top dogs Australia were threatening to boycott the closing ceremony.

The Australian newspaper reported that the big Australian delegation would not take part in Thursday's climax to the 12-day event unless organisers improve conditions seen at the troubled event's opening ceremony on October 3.

Australian public broadcaster ABC later said that Indian officials had pledged in talks with the Australian delegation chiefs that their concerns for the ceremony would be addressed.

Chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said the team was taking a tough line after athletes were made to wait in a 40 degrees C (104 F) "Tunnel of Hell" for an hour before parading through the New Delhi stadium on that occasion.

Moneghetti said that Australia's Games association chief, Perry Crosswhite, made the boycott threat during talks with Indian officials.

Australia have a large team of about 380 athletes in Delhi and are the runaway medals table leaders with 68 golds heading into the final two days before Thursday's closing ceremony.

Indian newspapers made no mention of any ceremony boycott and instead trumpeted home successes on Tuesday when the men's hockey team reached the final with a penalty shoot-out victory over England, while the country's women athletes won a first ever games track gold in the 4x400m relay.

That helped keep the hosts in second place in the medals table with 32 golds, well behind runaway leaders Australia but ahead of Games giants England and Canada.

Boxing was meanwhile taking centre stage on Wednesday with 10 finals running through light-flyweight to super-heavyweight.

Five of the finals are between fighters from the British "home nations" of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland while Manju Wanniarachchi could win Sri Lanka's first Commonwealth Games boxing gold medal in 72 years

The cycling programme concludes with the men's amd women's individual time trial where Australia will be looking to double up again after wins in both the men's and women's road races.

Singapore look set to boost their gold medal haul in the table tennis finals having already won the mixed doubles title on Tuesday, while the three doubles finals will round off the squash competition.

Other gold medals will be on the line in diving (2), rhythmic gymnastics (1), lawn bowls (2), and shooting (3)

All eyes in the shooting competiton will be on English pistol shooter Mike Gault who will attempt to win his 18th Commonwealth Games record stretchimg over 16 years and equalling the record of Australian marksman Phillip Adams.