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Let us play, say athletes

india Updated: Aug 08, 2010 00:30 IST
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"Bring the focus back on the athletes."

"It's not often that we get a chance to participate in front of our home crowd in such a major Games."

"Punish the guilty though." Athletes speak

This is response from India's stars who will be represent the country at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi from October 3-14.

"Aisa mauka kis ko milta hai ki apne mummy-papa ke samne khele (Who get this rare opportunity to play in front of their parents in such a big event)" said an emotional Surinder Kaur, captain of the women's hockey team, who was a member of the silver-winning squad in 2006 Melbourne Games.

"Hope the Games don't get cancelled," is what she's been praying for right now.

"I have already requested for passes or tickets from officials so that my parents can watch me play in New Delhi."

The main concern for athletes, ever since the 2010 Commonwealth Games was hit by a slew of controversies, was whether the Games would be held or not.

"How many times has any Indian athlete performed in his or her country in such a mega event? Not too many," said Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh.

"It's only during such events as the Olympics, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games that we get so much attention. Sportsmen should stay away form controversies."

Even Sushil Kumar, Olympic bronze medalist in wrestling, said that the "guilty should be punished, but let the Games get its due recognition.

"Otherwise, when are sportsmen who represent the country in Olympic disciplines going to get our bit of attention? What better time than now, when we are playing at home?"