Security arrangements were not impressive: England

Badminton England said on Monday that the decision of pulling out of the World Badminton Championship was taken after great consideration.

updated: August 10, 2009 12:09 IST
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We did not get appropriate security in Hyderabad: England

London, Aug 10 (PTI)

Badminton England on Monday alleged that its shuttlers did not get the "appropriate levels of security" in Hyderabad and they had to pull out of World Championship because "It wasn't a safe place for staff or players."

BE chief executive Adrian Christy, who earlier had called the pullout "an incredibly tough decision", made a complete volte-face today, accusing the organisers in Hyderabad of not extending "appropriate levels of security" to their contingent.

"It wasn't a safe place for staff or players," Christy said.

"We were on back roads with no armed guards or anything just a bus driver. It doesn't matter to me where it is in the world, we weren't safe in that situation," he said. "It wasn't a difficult decision in my mind," added the BE official.

This was in complete contrast to his comments on Sunday in the BE statement which quoted him as saying "This was an incredibly tough decision and one we didn't take lightly."

The eight-member English team returned home yesterday, citing a "specific" Lashkar-e-Toiba threat to the championship even though Home Minister P Chidambaram and the organisers assured them of a foolproof security and insisted it was merely a threat perception and there was no such specific information.

England team manager Andy Wood claimed security was so lax in Hyderabad than anyone could have walked into the players' hotel without being challenged.

Incidentally, Badminton Scotland decided to allow its players Susan Egelstaff and Alistair Casey to play in the World Championships and termed the BE decision as 'over-reaction'.

Christy, however, insisted that pulling out of the event was the only option before them.

"I don't think we have overreacted," Christy said. "We were very clear of our expectation of security before the event. We went to Hyderabad with every intention of being met with appropriate levels of security. We were not particularly impressed with the level of security we were met with on arrival and subsequent days. It was absolutely the right thing to do," he said.

One of the players, Nathan Robertson, said the shuttlers wanted to return home at the earliest. "We were unsafe and the only possible decision was to return home. We wanted to return as early as possible," he said.

BE performance director Ian Moss said security was not upto the mark in Hyderabad.

"There was a security presence but not one we had a great level of comfort with," he said.