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Australian contingent head confident of grand Games

delhi Updated: Oct 03, 2010 13:07 IST
Australian contingent

After having expressed concerns about security and shabby living conditions in the Commonwealth Games village, favourites Australia on Sunday gave a big thumbs up to the hosts and said India are well prepared to hold a great event.

"India is ready to hold the Games. Today's opening ceremony will be held at a magnificent stadium. It will be watched by 80,000 people inside it. Those who are not part of it will be missing it," said Australian contingent's Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti.

"It is about the athletes today. Despite all those infrastructure and all those concerns, today is the day for celebrations.

"Today is the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Delhi. It is happening. It is exciting. There is a great buzz around in the village and in preparation for the spectacular night. It's such a significant moment in Indian sport. It is an incredible moment. We are getting caught up in that," the Australian official said.

Moneghetti said after enjoying the experience, the athletes would quickly plunge into action from tomorrow.

"Tonight is about enjoying the experience and then realising that the Games are open. Once the Games are officially open, athletes then will quickly go over to the competition," he said.

Australia, who have consistently dominated these Games held from 1930, have come with a well-prepared contingent, he said when asked about the withdrawals from some top athletes due to security, health, fitness and other concerns.

"We have come with a very strong team and would do very well. We have come with the largest squad for any Commonwealth Games held outside of Australia," he said.

Moneghetti did not want to predict the number of medals the kangaroo country will win from the 19th edition of the Games in which 71 nations are competing.

"I have read about 200-plus medals. The figure looks good and I'm a maths teacher," he said.

Australia, as the host nation, grabbed 84 gold, 69 silver and 68 bronze medals at the Melbourne Games four years ago to finish way ahead of the rest, including England, who finished second with 36-40-37.