Australia, Canada skip Commonwealth boxing titles

Australian boxers will miss the Commonwealth Championships in
New Delhi because of a clash of dates, not because of security
concerns, Boxing Australia said Wednesday.

Boxing Australia chairman Ted Tanner said his organization was
happy to send boxers to India but the championships, starting
Wednesday, clashed with national selection trials from March
18.

The Commonwealth event had been rescheduled from last year and
Boxing Australia had learned too late of the new dates.

“Unfortunately we were only given eight weeks notice and it
clashed with all of the planning we had made for the preparation of
the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games itself,” Tanner
said.

“I got a telephone call from the Indian secretary and he asked
me directly (about security) and I said it had nothing to do with
that … I’m sure the Indian secretary understands. I’ve said to
him we have total confidence in their assurances. If they said it
would be safe, it’s safe.”

Australia plans to send a team of 10 boxers to the Oct. 3-14
Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

P.K. Muralidharan Raja, secretary of the Indian Boxing
Federation, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Australia and
Canada were not sending teams to the Commonwealth
championships.

The championships are an official test event for the
Commonwealth Games.

But the facilities were not ready on construction deadline,
among many venue delays which have provoked criticism from the
Commonwealth Games Federation and caused embarrassment for local
organizers.

New Delhi has already staged the Commonwealth nations shooting
championship, the first of a series of international events during
2010 to test New Delhi’s preparation for the biggest multi-sport
event staged in India since the 1982 Asian Games.

The men’s field hockey World Cup is currently being played in a
refurbished stadium that hosted the inaugural Asian Games in 1951.
The hockey tournament is being played amid intense security
following reported terror threats.

An invitational international archery event is also starting
Wednesday to test the facilities.

Besides the sports venues – including Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium,
built for the 1982 Asian Games and being upgraded to host the
Commonwealth Games opening ceremony – 26 new training facilities
are being built and a further 16 refurbished.

AP Sports Writer Sandeep Nakai in New Delhi contributed to this
report.