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<% on Error Resume Next Response.Expires = 0 %> Sri Lankan tennis players forced to withdraw due to terrorist threat - New Zealand

Sri Lankan tennis players forced to withdraw due to terrorist threat - New Zealand

(By Walter Jayawardhana)

Owing to a terrorist threat, Sri Lanka has withdrawn from the Fed Cup Asia Ocenia Zone Women's tennis tournament, scheduled to start in Christ Church in New Zealand next Monday, the tournament organizers announced.

The organizers said Syria has also withdrawn from the tournament for the same reason.

Tournament Director David Blackwell announced that it was disappointing that these countries had to withdraw from the tournament but said, ""the organizers respect the independent decisions made by these countries." The terrorist threat had been phoned to the International Tennis Federation in London, the organizers said. The organizers did not announce the perpetrators of the threat.

It was not clear the threats were made separately or together for both countries. The threatening telephone calls had come last month and the tournament organizers have arranged with the New Zealand police to make security arrangements for participating players.

Sri Lankan authorities said there is an orchestrated terrorist campaign against Sri Lankan sportspersons today.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has already announced that it would join hands with an Amnesty International who is leading a cricket ball campaign against Sri Lanka called play by the rule campaign.

The LTTE organ Tamil Net said , "The Tamil Tigers Tuesday(April 10) backed an Amnesty International awareness campaign that has embarrassed Sri Lanka's government during the cricket World Cup and urged a full sporting boycott of the country, AFP reported."

The pro-LTTE organ further said, "a LTTE terrorist cadre Selvy Navaruban Tuesday welcomed the Amnesty campaign, saying it would raise awareness abroad and also among the majority Sinhalese population about "the brutality of their government against the Tamil population."

Observers said, it was ironic that a terrorist outfit, criticized as the worst violators of human rights in the world have vowed to support Amnesty International in a sports related campaign.

Meanwhile the Patriotic National Movement held a massive protest demonstration in front of Colombo Fort Railway station alleging the Amnesty International campaign was a sinister movement to support the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam against Sri Lanka.

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