Athletics: Games could be health risk

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The Independent Online
PAUL EVANS, the British marathon runner, believes the health of young athletes could be at risk if they take part in this summer's Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.

Evans claims pollution levels in Kuala Lumpur could be dangerous to young competitors who will still feel they cannot miss the opportunity to take part.

The 1996 Chicago Marathon champion says British athletics officials could be doing more to find out whether it is safe for people to take part in the Games.

Speaking at the launch of this year's Great South Run in Portsmouth, Evans said he would not hesitate to pull out if he felt the levels of toxins in the air would harm him. "The buck is being passed on to the athlete to make up their mind whether or not they want to take part,'' he said. "We are being supplied with figures, but they don't mean too much to anyone.

"I'm in a position where I don't have to go if I feel my health would be at risk, but for athletes who are about 18 years old it would be very hard to drop out. They could be selected for their country for the first time and they would be so keen to run it would be difficult for them to pull out.''