England pulls out of World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad, Aug. 9 (ANI): The England badminton team on Sunday withdrew from the World Badminton Championships to be held in Hyderabad from August 10 to 16, following "a specific terrorist threat" against the championships.

"This was an incredibly tough decision and one we didn't take lightly," The Times quoted Adrian Christy, Badminton England CEO, as saying.

"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," he added.

The tournament has been enveloped in a security blanket, following the Intelligence Bureau's (IB) alert of possible terror strike.

According to reports, Hyderabad police has received inputs from the IB that the championship is under threat from the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The IB had informed the state police that terror elements may attempt to attack international players as they did against Sri Lankan cricketers in Pakistan in March this year.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has assured that the championships would take place in complete security, and there was no need to have any apprehensions.

"The alert in Hyderabad was based on information shared with the state police in a routine manner. There is no specific information that points to any imminent threat to the championship in Hyderabad. Nevertheless, the state police has taken all measures necessary to fully secure the tournament and ensure the safety of every player," Chidambaram had said on Saturday.

However, Christy said they had carefully considered the comments made by the Hyderabad police authorities, but safety of players was much more crucial at the moment, and this had prompted them to take the decision.

"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," said Christy. (ANI)

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