Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Zealand Shooting Federation happy with Delhi security

The New Zealand Shooting Federation is comfortable with security arrangements in place for this week's Commonwealth championships in Delhi despite fresh terrorist fears in India.

New Zealand has five shooters and a manger attending the championships. They were due to arrive in Delhi later today (Tuesday).

India's government has launched an urgent review of security for sports events in the wake of a weekend bomb blast which appeared to target foreigners. Nine people died in the blast in a coffee house favored by foreigners in the Pune, near Mumbai.

That has heightened ongoing concerns about October's Commonwealth Games.

The NZSF said they were happy with arrangements made by local officials for the security of their team and the championships which run from February 17-27.

"We are reliant on what India supplies us but we understand it's going to be pretty structured," said Gavin Paton of the NZSF.

They had consulted with the ministry of foreign affairs and looked at Australian advisories.

Paton expected security to be similar to that planned for next week's World Cup hockey tournament in Delhi that has armed guards aboard team buses that will also have police escorts between hotels and venues.

It is understood security arrangement for the coming IPL cricket extravaganza that will involve several leading New Zealand players will be at an unprecedented level.

Importantly the Kiwi shooters also have former NZSF chief executive Graham Hudson on the ground in Delhi where he is helping with the shooting structure for the looming games.

"Graham is pretty comfortable with everything. If there were any problems he would have contacted us," Paton said.

"We have got to stay positive ... it's pretty much a world-wide thing at the moment. I think you still have to go and do things."

The Commonwealth championships will be a good test of the facilities for the games although there has already been a setback with the fullbore range not yet completed, hence New Zealand's small team.

New Zealand sent 25 shooters to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne but there could be half that number in Delhi.

Performance criteria has been raised and with limited funding it is understood some shooters may bypass the Commonwealth Games for better competition at a World Cup event in Sydney next month.

NZSF will sort through their games candidates at the end of March with a July 31 cut-off for the New Zealand Olympic Committee to ratify qualifiers for Delhi.