Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Sunday, 9 August 2009 15:40 UK

Match quit move is 'overreaction'

Susan Hughes (Pic by Badminton Scotland)
Susan Hughes will compete, along with teammate Alistair Casey

The England badminton team has "overreacted" by pulling out of the world championships in India because of a terror threat, it has been claimed.

Anne Smillie, chief executive of Badminton Scotland, said she felt the players had made the wrong decision.

The eight-strong England squad pulled out of the tournament, in Hyderabad, after reports of threats by Muslim extremists Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The Scottish team will still compete in the event, which starts on Monday.

Scots singles players Susan Hughes and Alistair Casey will play on, and Badminton Scotland said it was happy with the security arrangements which had been put in place.

Our Scottish players and our team manager who are in Hyderabad feel confident the security is at its best
Anne Smillie
chief executive, Badminton Scotland

Commenting on the decision by the England team, Ms Smillie told BBC Scotland: "I don't necessarily think they've made the right decision. I think perhaps they've overreacted.

"Certainly our Scottish players and our team manager who are in Hyderabad feel confident that the security is at its best.

"They have been well looked after and they have no intention of coming home."

She added: "The impact it will have on the English players is that they will have to live with the knowledge that they've pulled out of a major world event and, of course, with that, they will lose valued ranking points."

Ms Smillie said the situation was a potential disaster for the championship organiser, adding: "It really has an impact on the players, the team's morale will be at its worst and, of course, now that there has been this negative publicity, the security has been increased beyond belief.

"My understanding is they have approximately 1,000 armed policemen in and around the arena, and that in itself is intimidating, for not only the players, but the spectators and the sponsors and it's just really disappointing."

A guard at the World Badminton Championships
Indian authorities have given assurances over security at the event

Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said it was "an incredibly tough decision" to withdraw.

He said: "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."

Lashkar-e-Taiba is Urdu for Soldiers of the Pure, and is a Pakistan-based organisation fighting against Indian control in Kashmir.

It has been blamed for several terrorist incidents in India including the October 2005 bomb attacks in Delhi, which saw 60 people killed, and is alleged to have played a part in the armed raid on the Indian parliament in December 2001.

The Foreign Office said the British High Commission had been in contact with the Indian authorities, which gave assurances the highest level of security was in place around the championships.



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