Robert Hurley Withdraws From Commonwealth Games With Illness

NEW DELHI, INDIA, October 5. AUSTRALIAN swimmer Robert Hurley has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games due to exhaustion and a strong bout of food poisoning, according to media reports.

Hurley was one of two swimmers and a coach who had experienced what has become known as "Delhi belly," an intestinal ailment that was believed to have been caused by food in the athletes' village. Along with Hurley, swimmer Ryan Napoleon and coach Matt Brown had been diagnosed with the same food poisoning. Napoleon rallied to finish second in the 400 free final Monday.

Hurley flew back to Australia today after finishing 10th in Monday's preliminaries of the 400-meter freestyle. Hurley had been viewed as a strong medal contender in the event, coming into the meet as the second-fastest swimmer in the event among athletes in Commonwealth countries with a 3:47.67 from the Australian trials in March.

Hurley was also to be a part of the Australian 800 freestyle relay that was to be contested in finals tomorrow, and the 1500 freestyle later in the week. Hurley's 15:00.96 from March stands as the eighth-fastest time in the world this year and the second-fastest among athletes in the Commonwealth countries.

Hurley had been dealing with fatigue issues since the March trials and complained of not being fully prepared for the Commonwealth Games.

"There was hope that he might be able to perform here but it hasn't happened," Australian head coach told Nicole Jeffrey of The Australian of the decision to send Hurley home. "We think it's best for him and his health that he return to Australia."

Nugent said Hurley's likely replacement on the 800 free relay would be Tommaso D'Orsogna, who was part of the winning 400 free relay on the opening night.

Other swimmers on the Australian team also told of similar problems with fatigue that have plagued them in the months leading up to the meet. Andrew Lauterstein, the bronze medalist in the 100 butterfly in the 2008 Olympics, said, "Between (the Pan Pacific championships) and here I have done everything I could to try to get myself right. I was so driven to win here that I almost drove myself into the ground."

Lauterstein competes in the final of the 50 butterfly tomorrow in New Delhi.

Read the full article in The Australian.