SPORT INDEX


SEARCH 2000 Games


Thursday, March 16, 2000
More than 4,000 soldiers will help with Olympic security

  SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Australian authorities are spending millions of dollars to put thousands of security officers on the streets for the Sydney Olympic Games. If everything goes to plan, hardly anyone will notice.

  The federal government today announced a security budget for September's games of $43 million and said more than 4,000 defence force personnel will be deployed to bolster the number of state police in Sydney.

  Australia's special commando troops will begin a new round of Olympics training in May, and the Olympics force will also include operatives from the Australian Security and Intelligence Agency, the equivalent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Minister John Moore said.

  During two antiterrorism exercises already held in Sydney, squads of Blackhawk helicopters swooped over the city, dropping commandos by rope over city landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House.

  Moore said a buildup of uniformed New South Wales state police, federal officers and military personnel will begin in May and last until after the games finish in October.

  Officials say that while the force, expected to total 11,000, will be ready to deal with any terrorist threat swiftly and harshly, it will also be discreet.

  "At present, there is no specific threat of terrorism against the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games," Attorney-general Daryl Williams said.

  "The government wants to ensure that the security operation for the games will be effective, friendly and unobtrusive."

  The funding announcement came on the same day that a man charged with trying to extort millions of dollars by threatening to blow up airplanes during the games was denied bail in a Sydney court.

  Mehmet Akin Kayirici, 35, of Sydney, was ordered to remain in custody until he is put on trial. He is charged with making a series of demands for money and the release of overseas prisoners in letters sent to foreign consulates, including the U.S. consulate, in Sydney between 1997 and 1999.

  Prosecutors say Kayirici threatened to shoot down planes carrying athletes to the Sydney Games if his demands were not met.

  Williams said the two earlier counter-terrorism training exercises had shown that, "Australia stands ready to deal swiftly and efficiently with any threat against the Games and national security."

  Moore said during the games, soldiers would help with searches of venues for suspicious items, bomb disposal, underwater searches of ships and waterways and transport of some Olympic officials, particularly those involved with drug testing.

 Sport by Sport
PARALYMPICS
Purdy's golden moment
WRESTLING
IOC strips gold medal
TENNIS
Nestor's golden win hits home
BOXING
Harrison starts in Britain
WEIGHTLIFTING
Bulgarian coach resigns
TRACK & FIELD
Student suspended for e-mail threats
CANOE/KAYAK
Bridesmaid Brunet
PENTATHLON
Brit wins women's modern pentathlon
TRIATHLON
Simon's our man
BASKETBALL
Dream Team hangs on for another gold
WATER POLO
Hungary destroys Russia in title game
GYMNASTICS
Barsukova wins rhythmic gold in an upset
EQUESTRIAN
Wind dashes Millar's medal hopes
VOLLEYBALL
Yugoslavia beats Russia for gold
DIVING
Despatie arrives early
FIELD HOCKEY
Netherlands retains Olympic title
TAEKWONDO
Bosshart wins bronze in taekwondo
SYNCHRO
Ironic performance wins bronze
SAILING
Clarke retires after finishing 17th