Australian swimmers Rob Hurley and Ryan Napoleon went to India to race in the Commonwealth Games but after a bad meal in the athletes village were left racing each other to the toilet. Napoleon recovered to almost win the 400m freestyle final the next evening but for Hurley, already suffering a fatigue condition, the sickness was the final straw and he is due to fly home to Australia in the next few days, reports Sydney Morning Herald..
Hurley and Napoleon ate in the Games village on Sunday night after Australian swimmers were told not to attend the Games opening ceremony to ensure they were at their peak for competition, which began on Monday morning.
The pair, along with a swimming coach Matt Brown, ate a meat bolognese sauce and came down with Delhi Belly, with classic symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Games organisers have ordered an inspection of all food at the athletes village after the incident, which may have proved the final straw for Hurley, who has been suffering from a fatigue complaint for nearly two months.
Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell suggested their sudden sickness may not have come from the village - despite athletes being restricted to the campus apart from training and competition. ''We have asked for a check on the food, but we were not told that it necessarily came from the village, it could have come from anywhere,'' Fennell said. ''All I am saying, the village food, the caterers, we have asked to inspect fully.''
Delhi Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said the food at the village had attracted rave reviews. ''The cuisine has been appreciated at the village, everybody has liked the cuisine,'' Kalmadi said.
Brown conceded he'd been suffering cramps and vomiting but yesterday was on the mend although yet to eat again. His star young charge, swimmer Emily Seebohm, had suffered no complaints. Hurley, who swam 10 seconds outside outside his best time in the heats of the mens 400 metres, was clearly affected.
''Me, Ryan and Emily's coach Matt had it - good thing Emily didn't have it,'' Hurley said of the pasta.'' By 2am we were all running to the toilet, it hasn't been good. I am in the same room with Ryan and we were in the same room alternating [in the toilet], passing the baton,'' he said.
However, Napoleon backed up the next evening to go within a whisker of victory in the final of the 400m. Head swim coach Leigh Nugent said Hurley had been unwell since the Pan Pacs in August, suffering from a recurring fatigue condition that leaves unable him to train or race properly.
Nugent denied that Delhi belly was the issue. ''Whenever they go to another country they get some bowel disorder. That's normal and we had that in Irvine [for the Pan Pacs] but here, they've been fine,'' Nugent said.
Conversely, illness and injury-prone sprinter Eamon Sullivan, who stood out in the 4x100m relay, looks set to return to record-breaking form.
''I thought it was a sensation swim [in the relay] - 47.4 is a great split. It's terrific to see him back to that performance level,'' said Nugent. ''He struggled all of last year with injury and illness, and when you're like that for a long period of time you struggle with your confidence. To have a swim like that has really given him a lift.''
Alicia Coutts, who totally dominated Emily Seebohm to win the 200m individual medley on Monday night, was so excited with her performance she couldn't sleep. Despite the restless night, she continued to show improvement in the pool, leading the field through the heats of the 100m freestyle.