Auckland, Sep 22 (IANS): New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Wednesday said that he would support any athlete who decides not to participate in the Commonwealth Games and added: "they have to make their own decision on whether they feel comfortable or not with the risks involved".
Key was briefed Tuesday night over the preparation for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi Oct 3-14.
The prime minister said that it was up to the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) to decide whether or not to send a team.
"I would love to see the Games go ahead, but if they are to go ahead, from New Zealand's perspective, the conditions have to be safe and sound for our people," stuff.co.nz quoted Key as saying.
He made it clear that he would support any individual athlete who decides not to go.
"I think in the end, they have to make their own decision on whether they feel comfortable or not with the risks involved," he said, adding "we're trying to give our people the best assessment that we can".
He said: "Obviously there are lots of different pictures emerging and the British (athletes) pulling out is an interesting dynamic...I'm sure they (the NZOC) will compare notes with other countries and in due course make a decision they think is appropriate."
"We know that the New Zealanders talk to the Brits, to the Australians and to the Canadians. They've been sharing similar information so one would assume that they would often draw similar conclusions."
Sounding a word of caution, Key said: "If the Commonwealth Games did not go ahead that would have significant implications for the future of the Commonwealth Games and that's not something we'd like to see and it also wouldn't be good for India."
Some 7,000 participants and officials from 71 countries and territories are expected to attend the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games, India's biggest sporting event after the 1982 Asian Games it hosted in New Delhi.