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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Terror Threat Forces England Out of World Badminton Championships

Apparently a very specific threat from a Muslim terrorist group has caused the English badminton team to cancel their trip to India.

I can't imagine they would throw away all their hard work in progressing in the competition on a whim, so there must have been just cause to be afraid.

The Daily Telegraph:

The eight-strong squad was due to travel to India for the competition, which begins on Monday in Hyderabad, but cancelled the trip after reports of threats from Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said: “This was an incredibly tough decision and one we didn’t take lightly.

“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.”

Lashkar-e-Taiba is a Pakistani-based military group fighting against the Indian control of Kashmir.

It has been linked to the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, in which 188 people were killed, as well as an October 2005 bomb attack in Delhi which killed 60 people.

Christy said: “We are extremely grateful for the speed in which the BWF (Badminton World Federation) and the organising committee reacted to the concerns following the threat.

“We have carefully considered the comments made by the local police authorities and we know that they have the best interest of all competitors in mind.

“We have also listened to the advice from the Foreign Office and British High Commission. We have been in constant dialogue with them over the past couple of days.

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

Performance director Ian Moss said: “It is a disappointing outcome, especially after we had enjoyed a 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.

“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.”

But Indian officials have sought to downplay threats against the tournament.

Indian home affairs minister P Chidambaram is reported in The Times of India as saying that there was “no specific information” about any planned terrorist attack.

He said: “I am satisfied that the World Badminton Championship will take place in complete security. No one needs to have any apprehensions on this score.”

A Badminton World Federation official said England were the only team that would be leaving.

"No other team has withdrawn or indicated a decision to withdraw," S. Selvam, BWF spokesman said.

1 comment:

WAKE UP said...

Apart from the seriousness of this threat, it seems wise to remember that, essentially, Muslims, fun and sport are incompatible.