Amid speculation some swimmers, or potentially even the whole squad, could withdraw from the event, all 52 of the Dolphins arrived in India on Wednesday night ready to race following a five-day training camp in Malaysia.
“There’s been concern right before we came right ’till when we were here but not enough enough to stop us from coming,” said head coach Leigh Nugent, who was only allowed to address media at the airport after Australian officials pleaded with reluctant police and security.
“I think every sporting team would have had those concerns, we’ll be no different, but we’ve got everyone here.
“There’s always last minute jitters when you come into a major event, a bit of everything … it’s just good to come with everyone.”
The squad, spearheaded by the likes of Leisel Jones, Emily Seebohm, Eamon Sullivan and Geoff Huegill, appeared in good spirits and will be allowed to settle into the athletes’ village before recommencing training on Thursday afternoon.
Nugent said his squad remained in high spirits despite the concerns and, although usually reluctant to talk medal counts, said he believed the Dolphins were capable of surpassing the 53 medals they won at the Melbourne Games in 2006.
“I think it is (possible), because we’re good enough,” Nugent said.
The Australian Games team was set to welcome more than 150 athletes overnight with Australia’s athletics team, men’s hockey side and weightlifters among others coming in.
That contingent included Olympic and world pole vault champion Steve Hooker, who has emerged as arguably the star athlete of the Games following a string of high-profile withdrawals, the latest being South Africa’scontroversial 800m star Caster Semenya due to injury.