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'Hockey Australia should pull out of WC'

Source: PTI
February 18, 2010 12:02 IST
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Terror threats notwithstanding, Hockey Australia on Thursday said it remains committed to sending its team for the World Cup in India even as jittery family members of the players demanded that the country pull out of the event.

Amid threats of a terror attack during the mega-event, scheduled from February 28 to March 13 in New Delhi, Hockey Australia said it is keeping an eye on the situation.

HA chief executive Mark Anderson said he was "awaiting the assessment regarding the legitimacy of the threat".

"Until we receive further advice, our plans will remain unchanged. This information will be received prior to the team departing for the World Cup," Anderson was quoted as saying by The Herald Sun.

"We will continue to take advice from a range of security sources prior to the Kookaburras travelling to India. The team's safety will remain of paramount importance," he added.

But parents of the players are a jittery lot. Star striker Kieran Govers parents, Jenny and Ian, have cancelled their plans of accompanying their son to India and want the tournament shifted to another country.

"What's been happening prior to today I was quite happy to go and I felt quite safe ... but now we're definitely not going," said Jenny.

"It has been very costly but what price do you put on a life? I don't want to be going to India and looking over my shoulder. I just hope Hockey Australia says no and just pulls them out ... we are putting these players' lives at risk," Jenny was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

"I would like to see it transferred to another country quite frankly," she added.

HA said no player would be forced to go.

"We wouldn't send them into an unsafe environment.  We would not force anyone on the team to go ... (but) there's been no expression of anyone wanting to pull out at any stage," Anderson said.

Defender Kiel Brown said the team was committed to going as of now.

"We are very keen to go. But we will place our trust in our security advisers and take their advice," Brown said.

Another Aussie player Jamie Dwyer said he wants to go but would wait for advice on security before completely making up his mind.

"It's a pretty tough situation. I want to go but it depends what happens in the interim," he said.

The heightened security fears come in the wake of the Pune bomb blast last week that killed 11 people.

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