Defending champion Lin Dan and third-seeded Peter Gade had easy victories yesterday to advance to the second round of the badminton world championships.
Lin, seeking to become the first player to win three straight titles, defeated Misha Zilberman of Israel 21-9, 21-11, while Danish player Gade had a 21-11, 21-16 victory over Ukraine’s Valerly Atrashchekov.
The tournament began under tight security after England’s decision on Sunday to withdraw because of security concerns.
Lin, winner of the singles title at the 2006 and 2007 World championships and the 2008 Olympics, is seeded fifth because of his low ranking after missing several Super Series events.
Lin is regarded by many as favorite for the title but has tried to deflect the attention.
“I don’t consider myself as a favorite for the title. I think Gade and top seed Lee Chong Wei are the favorites,” he said.
Gade, 32, the losing finalist in the 2001 world championships, said he felt comfortable throughout his match, even though his opponent played a brisk game.
Gade is expected to meet Lin in the quarter-finals.
Dutch player Dicky Palyama scored the first upset of the tournament by ousting 11th-seeded Bao Chun Lai of China 21-18, 21-14 in the opening round.
Sixth-seeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia advanced to the second round with a 21-13, 21-9 victory over Austria’s Michael Lahnsteiner.
Women’s No. 14 Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia took just 19 minutes to defeat American Shannon Pohl 21-4, 21-6.
England badminton officials and players blamed what they said were inadequate security measures for their decision to pull out of the championships.
Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy told a media conference yesterday the team was not given “appropriate levels of security” for the tournament.
Security concerns over sports events in South Asia have been heightened since the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan, that killed six policemen and a driver in March.
“It wasn’t a safe place for staff or players,” Robertson said at the media conference at Milton Keynes, England. “We were on back roads with no armed guards or anything — just a bus driver. It doesn’t matter to me where it is in the world, we weren’t safe in that situation. It wasn’t a difficult decision in my mind.”
England flew home from Hyderabad on Sunday, a day before the tournament started, because of a terrorist threat from a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group.
Indian police have denied there was a threat but team manager Andy Wood said that security was so lax that members of the public could easily walk into the players’ hotel unchallenged.
“I don’t think we have overreacted,” Christy said. “We were very clear of our expectation of security before the event. We went to Hyderabad with every intention of being met with appropriate levels of security. We were not particularly impressed with the level of security we were met with on arrival and subsequent days.”
Christy also expressed his unhappiness with comments from Badminton Scotland chief executive Anne Smillie, who said that England had overreacted.
England performance director Ian Ross said other teams were concerned with security and got in touch with their embassies for advice on whether to stay.
“This is unfortunate and an overreaction,” Indian home secretary G.K. Pillai said on Sunday. “The security arrangements in Hyderabad are good and the government of India is committed to ensure the complete security of all competitors and the championship.”
In March, two of England’s top badminton players withdrew from the India Open in Hyderabad citing security concerns.
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