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World Badminton Championship
England pull out over terror threat
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, August 9
With less than 24 hours to go for the World Badminton Championships here, the England team has pulled out of the high-profile event citing a ‘specific threat’ to the Championships from Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

“It was an incredibly tough decision. After the Olympic Games, this is the most prestigious championships in the world but we were not prepared to risk the safety of our players, coaches and staff in what we felt could have been a very volatile environment,” Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said in a statement.

Christy said the team, which included Olympic silver medalist Nathan Robertson, had “carefully considered” the information from local police authorities and the British High Commission. The conclusion made by Badminton England was that “safety is of paramount importance”, he said.

England’s decision came in the backdrop of intelligence alert that LeT was planning terror strikes in Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad on the eve of the Independence Day and that the venue of Badminton championships could be a possible target.

This is the first time that India is hosting the tournament. Following intelligence alerts, security has been beefed up at GMC Balayogi stadium at Gachibowli, the venue of the week-long event.

With 340 international players and over 100 officials in the city for the championship, the police are not taking any chances. Though Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had assured that the tournament would take place in complete security, the eight-member strong England team has decided to withdraw from the championships on the ground that it could not compromise on safety.

“The conclusion is that safety is of paramount importance and therefore, with great regret, the team will be returning home immediately,” the statement said.

“It is a disappointing outcome, especially after we had enjoyed very good preparation at our holding camp in Doha, Qatar, last week. Our athletes were extremely well prepared for these championships but, at the end of the day, personal safety must take priority over performance,” the Performance Director Ian Moss said.

“This was a unanimous squad decision and is not reflective of the efforts made by the organising committee to create the safest environment possible for all athletes,” he said.



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