Idowu, Ohuruogu to skip games


LONDON, September 22- World triple jump champion Phillips Idowu looked set to skip the defence of his Commonwealth Games title as he became the latest high-profile absentee from the crisis-stricken event on Tuesday.

In a blow for organisers, Idowu made clear he was pulling out on safety grounds on the same day as the athletes’ village in Delhi was labelled "uninhabitable" and a footbridge collapsed near the main stadium.

Although his agent Ricky Simms said earlier Tuesday the English athlete was weighing up his options, the 31-year-old Idowu, a father of two, told micro-blogging site Twitter: "Sorry people, but I have children to think about.

"My safety is more important to them than a medal."

Idowu followed the lead of Australian discus world champion Dani Samuels who pulled out on Tuesday because of security and health concerns

Earlier, Olympic and Commonwealth 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu also withdrew from England’s team, as did compatriot Lisa Dobriskey, the reigning Commonwealth 1500 metres champion.

But both runners insisted their exits were injury-related.

"I am disappointed to miss the Commonwealth Games after working so hard to get fit since my quad injury in June," said Ohuruogu.

"However, with the 2012 Olympic Games on the horizon the last thing an athlete wants to do is risk re-injury to the same muscle.

"It was very important for me to be cautious in dealing with my previous injury, and although training was progressing well, intense competition over three days may prove to be more harmful than good and may compromise the long term functioning of the muscle.

"With three rounds in the 400m in Delhi I would need to be close to my best to win the gold.

"I had already picked up my team kit and was getting ready to go to the preparation camp in Doha. Instead I will have a short break now and resume winter training in October to get ready for the 2011 season.

"I would like to wish all my fellow athletes the best for Delhi and I hope they bring home a lot of medals."

Dobriskey, having struggled with injury earlier in the season, recovered to finish fourth in the 1500m at the European Championships in Barcelona but has since taken medical advice to rest and focus on winter season training working towards the 2011 indoor season.

"I was really looking forward to competing," she said. "I’m really disappointed, but I just ran out of time."

Other leading athletes, such as Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt, had already decided not to attend the Commonwealth Games because it clashed with their training schedules.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell on Tuesday opened the criticism of preparations in Delhi by saying several nations had been "shocked" by the "seriously compromised" games village.

A statement issued by the Scotland team management labelled the village as "unsafe and unfit for human habitation".