China are poised to follow England’s lead and pull out of the World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad, India.
"There is possibility that China will withdraw from the tournament due to security concerns," said head coach Li Yongbo after the opening day’s matches yesterday.
"There are World Championships every year. The players’ safety is much more important than the competition."
Li, who told reporters a day earlier that China would stay and compete unless the tournament was canceled, said he had received a phone call yesterday morning from senior officials of the State General Administration of Sports (SGAS), China’s sports’ governing body, and they had expressed serious concerns about the safety of the Chinese players.
"We have to admit the organizing committee did make great efforts but I think it’s still not enough. We can have so many policemen but there are still other people coming in and out of the hotel without restrictions."
Li said he will talk today with sports minister Liu Peng, who’s in charge of SGAS, and a final decision will then be made.
The Netherlands and Denmark are also reportedly considering withdrawing from the tournament.
England defend pull-out
Meanwhile, England yesterday defended their decision to pull out of the Worlds, saying security in the host city was lax.
Olympic silver medalist Nathan Robertson said he feared the team could have faced an attack like the one in which the Sri Lankan cricket team was targeted in Lahore, Pakistan, in March, which killed eight people.
The England team’s decision to leave prompted claims that it had over-reacted from India’s Home Secretary, G.K. Pillai, as well as the Scottish team.
"We don’t think we have overreacted, we were very clear with our expectations of security before the championships," said Badminton England’s chief executive, Adrian Christy.
"We went to Hyderabad with every intention of being met with appropriate levels of security considering recent attacks that have taken place in the country," he said at a press conference in Milton Keynes, north of London.
"We were not particularly impressed with the level of security that we were faced with."