England pulled out of the badminton world championships in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad yesterday amid concerns about the team’s security.
Badminton England said in a statement that the decision followed “concerns about the English team potentially being a target of attack in the event of a terrorist act.”
The team had already arrived in India for the championships, due to start today, but would be returning home immediately.
“The decision follows media reports of a specific Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist threat against the championships,” the statement said. “Following those reports, Badminton England felt the risk to the safety of the team was one they could not take.”
Security for sports teams in the sub-continent has been in question following the ambush of the Sri Lanka cricket team bus in Lahore, Pakistan, in March that killed seven Pakistanis and wounded six players.
That incident triggered concerns athletes could become a target for more attacks in the region and India remains nervous after militants killed 166 people in an attack on Mumbai last November.
“This was an incredibly tough decision and one we didn’t take lightly,” Adrian Christy, chief executive, said in the statement on Badminton England’s Web site. “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.”
Christy said the federation had also taken advice from the British Foreign Office and High Commission in India.
“We have been in constant dialogue with them over the past couple of days,” he said. “The conclusion is that safety is of paramount importance and therefore, with great regret, the team will be returning home immediately.”
• La New Bears 13,
Uni-President Lions 4
• La New Bears,
(second game postponed to Oct. 11)
• Brother Elephants,
(first game postponed to Oct. 6, second game postponed to 0ct. 11)