Citing IPL’s flight,UK pulls shuttlers out of Indian Open

Three days after the IPL was shifted overseas,foreign athletes have begun to cite the movement as evidence that India is unsafe for international sport....

Written by Shivani Naik | Hyderabad | Published: March 26, 2009 2:13 am

Three days after the IPL was shifted overseas,foreign athletes have begun to cite the movement as evidence that India is unsafe for international sport. Badminton England has pulled out its players from the ongoing Indian Open championship here,following a travel advisory issued by the British and Commonwealth Foreign Office.

“The IPL has been moved out of India,so nobody can deny that there are concerns (about security),” William Kings,Press Officer,Badminton England,told The Indian Express.

Kings said the two players in the English contingent — Carl Baxter and Rajiv Ouseph — took their own decisions to not travel to India,but they were “guided” by badminton’s governing body in England.

“Players were made aware of the situation,” Kings said. “They were guided by Badminton England,and they tend to follow the guidelines since they are funded by UK Sport. But this was advice as opposed to an order. They all have their families,and if you are told to not travel to a place owing to security concerns,you wouldn’t go against advice and travel,would you?”

Badminton England,Kings said,holds an internal security review for all tours by its players. “It’s normal practice and is undertaken prior to every trip abroad,and is not restricted to just India. We go by the advice week by week,day by day,and we are obligated to make our players aware of the situation… Every country has its own procedures,and if others chose to ignore their advice,it’s their wish. These are not matters you take half-chances on.”

On its web site,the British and Commonwealth Foreign Office has listed in detail the incidents of terror across India over the past one year and advised: ‘British nationals should exercise particular caution when… attending public events (including religious and sporting events),and in public places including hotels,airports…’.

Unlike the English,the French — the only non-Asians in the tournament now — made the trip,and didn’t appear unduly hassled. French coach Fabrice Vallet said that while they had looked up the security measures,the team didn’t think the situation was too dangerous to travel. “If you keep stressing about the security issue in these times,there’s not too many places you can go to now,” he said.

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