Pakistan, Australian hockey teams arrive in India
Amid heightened security cover, the Pakistan and Australian hockey teams arrived in India on Monday for the World Cup beginning in New Delhi on February 28.india Updated: Feb 22, 2010 16:21 IST
Amid heightened security cover, the Pakistan and Australian hockey teams arrived in India on Monday for the World Cup beginning in New Delhi on February 28.
The Australian hockey team was the first to reach New Delhi in the wee hours on Monday while the Pakistan team entered India through the Wagah Border.
"The Pakistan team crossed the Wagah Border at around 1 pm," BSF spokesperson Jagir Singh told IANS.
The New Zealand team will fly out of Perth later Monday. One of the Black Sticks players -- Simon Childe -- has pulled out of the tournament, saying that it will not be an "ideal environment" to play under such thick security cover.
"It's not an ideal environment to be trying to play your best hockey and to be performing for your country. I think that was the major issue that swayed me when I made up my mind," said Childe, who travelled with the 18-man squad to Western Australian for a series of build-up matches.
Strict security arrangements are in place following terror group Al Qaeda's warning to international athletes against participating in any sports events in India.
Both Hockey Australia and Hockey New Zealand reassessed the security situation in India after the threat by Al Qaeda before giving a clearance to their respective teams Sunday.
Hockey New Zealand (HNZ) had put the departure of the team on hold at Perth where they were playing warm-up matches against Australia. They cleared the team for participation in the World Cup on Sunday.
"The details we have received have reassured us that the required level of security is in place, therefore we have kept the team in the tournament," said Hilary Poole, chief executive of Hockey New Zealand.
The three-member support staff of the Canada team including the coach also arrived on Monday.
"The whole team will be coming tomorrow. We are happy with the security. It's a bit stifling though with so many security personnel around," the Canadian coach Alan Brahmst told IANS.