Louise Hazel heading out to Commonwealth Games despite safety concerns in Delhi

LOUISE Hazel is still preparing to head out to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi despite growing concerns about athletes’ safety.

A number of stars, including World triple jump champion Phillips Idowu, have already pulled out of the event which begins on October 3.

Concerns have been raised after the athletes’ village was described as unfit for human habitation. A number of bridges, to be used by spectators and athletes, have also collapsed.

The heptathlete, from March, said: “At the moment I’m still going and unless the team is pulled out, I will be heading to Delhi.

“If the powers that be deem it to be unsafe then it’s obvious we won’t be going. It would be disappointing but we’re not going to compromise our safety.

“It’s quite off-putting but I’m preparing as normal because I’ve worked so hard to get ready for this event.

“It does put a bit of a downer on the whole competition as I’ve been waiting all year for it. When you see two structural problems on the news and hear of the stories about uncleanliness it does concern you.

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“I’m just crossing my fingers that by the time we get there all of these problems have been sorted out.”

The England squad fly out to Qatar early next week to prepare for Delhi’s warmer climate and Hazel just wants to remain focused on the competition ahead.

“Everyone is just ploughing on with their plans and preparations,” said Hazel.

“When you get ready for an event you just want it to be the best it can be and I hope this doesn’t overshadow or take the shine off the event.

“Providing it passes without any problems it will be one of the best competitions I have competed in. I’m hoping to enjoy the occasion too because it’s such a special event.”

With World Champion and friend Jessica Ennis not competing, the Birchfield Harrier will be the UK’s top-ranked heptathlete at the event.

She said: “I don’t feel any added pressure with Jess not going as it gives me a chance to showcase what I can do.

“I just want to go out there, do my best and bring home what I can. I’ve improved in the hurdles, which I am entering as a separate event too, but just want to focus on the heptathlon first because I’ve worked so hard to improve areas like the high jump.”