The eight-member English badminton team pulled out of the World Badminton Championships on Saturday night citing ‘security fears’ following reports of ‘a Lashkar-e-Taiba threat’ to the tournament that begins here on Monday.
Badminton England confirmed the pullout, saying the decision was taken after consulting the foreign office and the British High Commission in India. “After the Olympics, this is the most prestigious championship 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,” said Chief Executive Adrian Christy. The team reached Hyderabad on Thursday night.
This is the second time English players have pulled out of a badminton tournament in India. Rajiv Ouseph and Carl Baxter withdrew from this year’s India Open Grand Prix Gold event in March after the Mumbai attacks in November.
Badminton World Federation Chief Operating Officer Thomas Lund expressed disappointment over the decision to pullout, but said they were helpless since ‘perception’ played an important role in it.
The team will have to pay a withdrawal fee of $250 per person.