Austrian duo turns its back on World Badminton

The World Badminton Championship refuses to be incident-free. Even as organisers breathed a sigh of relief when the results of the tests on a Malaysian coach turned negative for H1N1, two Austrian players -- Peter Zauner and Juergen Koch -- withdrew from the Hyderabad meet citing security reasons.

In an e-mail communication to BWF officials, the duo stated that it did not feel secure, and that the upcoming Indian Independence Day, together with the English team’s withdrawal, intensified their ‘bad feeling’.

“The BWF is not aware of any official warning or assessment of higher threat levels from the Austrian embassy. The latest specific statement regarding India from Austria was released on July 9,” said BWF COO Thomas Lund.

Though information on the Austrians’ withdrawal first surfaced on Tuesday itself, Lund on Wednesday had maintained that there were no fresh concerns expressed by visiting teams or players. Interestingly, the Austrian coach and one other player are still in Hyderabad.

Lund admitted the BWF was concerned with unilateral decisions taken by individuals. “It’s a matter of concern to us that people are not seeking our advice before arriving at their decisions. We will evaluate things after the tournament,” he stated. Malaysian coach Jeremy Gan, meanwhile, was cleared of being H1N1 positive. “He is back with the team and is healthy,” said Lund.

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