Sunday, 9 August 2009

Badminton team quits after threat

The England team has withdrawn from the World Badminton Championships in India because of "a specific terrorist threat" made by extremists.
The championships are being played in the city of Hyderabad.
The eight-strong squad pulled out of the tournament, which starts on Monday, following reports of a threat by the Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said it was "an incredibly tough decision".
He added: "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."
Mr Christy said the team, which included Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson, had "carefully considered" information from local police authorities.
Our athletes were extremely well prepared for these championships but, at the end of the day, personal safety must take priority over performance
Ian MossBadminton England
And after taking advice from the Foreign Office and British High Commission, the conclusion made by Badminton England was "that safety is of paramount importance," he added.
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."
Terror attacks
Lashkar-e-Taiba is Urdu for Soldiers of the Pure, and is a Pakistan-based organisation fighting against Indian control in Kashmir.
It has been blamed for several terrorist incidents in India including the October 2005 bomb attacks in Delhi, which saw 60 people killed, and is alleged to have played a part in the armed raid on the Indian parliament in December 2001.
Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe says it was a decision made by Badminton England
It was also linked with the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, which killed at least 188 people.
Gerry Sutcliffe, the sport minister, insisted the decision had been that of Badminton England alone.
He added: "That decision was based on a number of things that have happened, in terms of the specific nature of the threat and the general advice that's given for travelling in that region."
The Foreign Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport had earlier issued a statement saying: "The British High Commission had been in close contact with the Indian authorities which gave assurances that the highest level of security was in place around the Badminton World Championships

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