Australia will pay for damages at Games Village

Friday, October 15, 2010

SYDNEY/NEW DELHI - The Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) has regretted one of its athlete’s indecent behaviour a few days back and has agreed to pay for the damage caused at the Games Village in a rowdy incident after Games closure, Lalit Bhanot, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee secretary general, said Friday.

In a statement Bhanot said: “The media reports regarding Australian celebrations at the Athletes Village and the resultant damage to a washing machine are true. The person in charge of Tower 21 brought it to the notice of the Village authorities. The issue was taken up with the ACGA, who regretted the incident and agreed to pay for the damage as per guidelines.”

After the closing ceremony Thursday night, unidentified athletes dropped a washing machine from a balcony in the Australian section of the Games Village. Meanwhile, the athlete, whose identity has been withheld, was sent back home for bad behaviour some days back.

Delhi Police said no case has been filed in the incident as they have not received any official complaint from the organising committee.

The Australian high commission in a press release Friday morning termed as “sloppy journalism to a new low” the media report that “enraged by the humiliating loss, some athletes went berserk, destroying electrical fittings and furniture on Tuesday and Wednesday”.

According to the report which quoted Delhi Police sources, the irate athletes also shouted slogans against batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who played a pivotal role in ensuring India’s victory in the Bangalore Test match.

Terming the report “factually wrong, insulting to Australia’s athletes and can only be described as a fantasy”, the high commission release said: “It badly lets down a quality newspaper”.

The release, however, admitted: “There were indeed some spirited celebrations involving the Australian team and a number of other teams at the Athletes’ Village.”

“We can confirm that in the course of those celebrations, a washing machine was damaged, though it remains unclear who did the damage, what their nationality was, and whether it was deliberate or accidental,” the Australian high commission said.

No one was injured in Thursday’s incident, Perry Crosswhite, chief executive of the Australia Commonwealth Games Association, said in remarks published Friday.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying he was disappointed by the incident Thursday night after the Commonwealth Games concluded with a sparkling closing ceremony in the heart of the Indian capital.

“We don’t know who did that,” Crosswhite told journalists. “Delhi Police came around and they’ve done an investigation.”

He also revealed that one athlete was sent home a few days ago for bad behaviour but he did not reveal the person’s identity. “At the end of the Games, these things happen,” Crosswhite said.

Australia ended on top of the medals tally in the Oct 3-14 Games.

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