Oz hockey, Commonwealth teams to play in India despite Al Qaeda threats

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Melbourne, Feb 17 (ANI): Australia remains committed to sending its team for the hockey world cup, Commonwealth Games and third edition of the IPL to be played in India, despite a warning from an al-Qaeda cell to international athletes not to participate in India.

Al-Qaeda's 313 Brigade head Ilyas Kashmiri told all foreign athletes attending the international events in India this year that they "will be responsible for the consequences".

The Australian men's hockey team the Kookaburras will be among the first athletes to arrive in India for the World Cup beginning on February 28.

Australia also remains committed to sending a team to the Commonwealth Games, the Daily Telegraph reports.

"That threat does not affect our current position of going to the Games," said Perry Crosswhite, chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.

"We are committed to going. You can't be uncertain on that. The athletes are training. You can't have them wondering what's the point? Why get up at 5.30 and get into the pool for training every morning? You can't have a situation where you might go and you might not," said Perry.

Commonwealth Games officials will be able to review security not only at the upcoming hockey and cricket tournaments, but at a series of Games test events starting with lawn bowls in April.

The current feeling in sporting circles is that teams and officials will have extremely good security, but spectators may have to be extremely careful about their movements.

"India is a big place in a dangerous part of the world. It's a democracy of 1.2 billion people with all manner of groups, including those with extreme views, but these Games are very important for India's future," said sports administrator Crosswhite."

He said the final decision on whether to go was up to each individual competitor. (ANI)

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