Aussies restrict Sochi team movements

Team chiefs wary of security situation in Russia before Winter Olympics.

Afp February 02, 2014
A workers cleans the track at the start of the bobsleigh ice track at the Sanki sliding center in Rosa Khutor, a venue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, near Sochi February 2, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

SOCHI: Australian competitors at the Winter Olympics face travel restrictions in and around Sochi, it was revealed on Sunday by team chiefs wary of the security situation in Russia.

Australia is sending a record 60 athletes to the Games, which run from February 7-23, but they will be limited to where they can travel during the event.

Australian Olympic team chef de mission Ian Chesterman said the measures were based on his government’s warning for the Russia region.

 photo IanChesterman_zps04acb599.jpg

“We know that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice is to exercise a high degree of caution in Russia generally and in Sochi as well,” said Chesterman.

“We think it is good practice to define what a degree of caution is required for our Olympic team.”

Chesterman said that athletes will be limited to locations and attractions within the security perimeters of the Olympic Park. Team members are banned from travelling to downtown Sochi.

Despite the restrictions, Chesterman believes the Australians already in Sochi are at ease.

“We feel very comfortable coming here, everybody here has already experienced what  the level of security is in place – it’s intense, but not heavy-handed,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd,  2014.

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