Monday, 17 August 2009

World Badminton Championship's security arrangements get thumbs up

India's city of Hyderabad played host to 2009 World Badminton Championship quite under the glare of media men from around the world. Over 350 players from 42 countries participated in the seven-day event that came to an end Sunday.

The Badminton championship got-off to a controversial start as England pulled out of the tournament citing threat to the players. This was followed by 2 Austrian players pulling out a couple of days later for similar reasons.

This left organizers of the event to prove a point regarding their capability to host a world class tournament.

Under the security plan prepared by experts, 1,000 security personnel, including 45 armed guards trained in anti-terror operations, were deployed during the event. Most of the teams participating in the tournament confirmed that the arrangements were excellent.

In response to the England's pullout, Indian authorities had clarified that there is no particular threat to the tournament or players. The hype was created only by certain local media men speculating about the security on India's Independence Day on 15-Aug-2009, coinciding with the penultimate day of the tournament.

Indian government really pulled it off when on last day Home minister P Chidambaram stood in queue, purchased a ticket from the counter and watched the finals of the World Badminton championship from the spectators gallery on Sunday to send a symbolic message after England pulled out citing security reasons following alleged terror threat to the event.

Chidambaram's action seen as an attempt to prove a point that there is no threat to the premier event flew into Hyderabad by a scheduled commercial flight and proceeded in a private car to Gachibowli stadium , a 15-minute drive, unannounced. The Minister, who was without any security cover, was on a "private' visit to the city, official sources said in New Delhi. The Home Minister bought a Rs 1,000 ticket and proceeded to watch the finals of the Championships from the spectators gallery before he was spotted by the tournament organizers.

The successful hosting of World Badminton Championship will boost confidence of participating countries regarding security at Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in Oct 2010. The Government of India is already working on specific plans to ensure that the tournament will be as smooth as Badminton championships.


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