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Tennis: Tournaments shift base from India due to closure of Pakistani airspace

Tennis: Tournaments shift base from India due to closure of Pakistani airspace

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Published: 20 March 2019 3:36 AM GMT
A "highly-placed source" has told Economic Times that the hosting rights for Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup has been taken away from India in the aftermath of rising tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack. The closure of the Pakistani airspace coupled with  Indian airports being placed under high alert resulted in a consensus among the participating nations and the global tennis authorities of the world, ET said. Sixteen U16 teams were scheduled to travel to India for the Junior Davis Cup. These teams included Pakistan as well. The Delhi Lawn Tennis Association was slated to be the venue for both the Davis and the Fed Cups from April 8-13 and April 15-20 respectively. The tension between the two countries noticeably escalated after the attack in Pulwama claimed the lives of 40 CRPF Jawans. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attacks. Indian retaliation included an air strike in Balakot which targetted a training camp for JeM. This happened on February 26 and Pakistani airspace has remained closed since then. "No one knew how long the uncertain situation would prevail," the source told ET. "A consensus emerged that it is best to shift the venue and India could host tournaments in the future." Reports suggest that the both the events will now be held in Thailand. "Since the air space was locked, the flights had to take a detour, which meant increase in cost and more travel time. Kazakhstan would have taken three-four extra hours to reach New Delhi in the prevailing situation," they added. "It's not that India is not a secure place but due to the uncertainty caused by the tension between the two neighbours, everyone felt that it's a fair call to take the tournament somewhere else." Another source saw it as positive because it took the onus out of All India Tennis Association's (AITA) hands. "If the venue was not changed AITA had to ensure that Pakistan athletes are provided visas and in the prevailing situation, no one can guarantee that." Two Pakistani shooters and a coach were supposed to travel to India for the Shooting World Cup in Delhi in the last week of February but were denied visas. Global World federations immediately took action under the International Olympic's Charter's non-discrimination policies.
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