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Badminton England pulls out from World Championship due to terror threat
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England team Sunday withdrew from the World Badminton Championships, beginning in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad Monday, over reports of a specific terrorist threat, the Indo-Asian News Service reported on Sunday.

Badminton England said they were not prepared to take such a risk to the safety of their players, said the report.

"This was an incredibly tough decision and one we didn't take lightly. 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," the report quoted Adrian Christy, chief executive of Badminton England, as saying on Badminton England website.

Christy said the organization reached the decision after advice from the Foreign Office and British high commission.

Meanwhile, India's No.1 women badminton player Saina Nehwal called England's pullout "unfortunate".

A top Indian badminton official claimed that some of the English players had already left in the morning and others will leave by Sunday night.

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram has assured that police had taken all measures necessary to fully secure the tournament and ensure the safety of every player.

Officials of the Intelligence Bureau had visited the stadium as well as the badminton academy being run by player-turned-coach Pullela Gopichand to take stock of the situation and alert the organizers over the possible threat from the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Over 250 policemen have been deployed at the stadium, the Gopichand Academy, where the players are practicing and at four different hotels where the players and officials are staying.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2009)

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