India's 'Unsafe' Image Makes Swiss Squash Athlete Pull Out Of World Championships

Can't blame the parents for asking her daughter to pull out of World Championships

Switzerland’s No. 1 junior Ambre Allinckx has pulled out of World Junior Squash Championships because her parents fear ‘India is unsafe for women’. Not long ago, a report by Thomson Reuters Foundation called India the most unsafe country for women.

The report sparked a debate, as some argued about its authenticity. But, for the first time, its impact is visible as a World Champion refusing to visit India is shameful, to say the least.

According to a report in New Indian Express, the Swiss coach Pascal Bhurin said,

“Ambre Allinckx is our top-ranked women’s player. She couldn’t make it because her parents did not want. They have been reading reports on the internet about how unsafe India is for women and didn’t want to take the risk of sending their daughter over. However, we have not experienced any disturbance so far.”

The Chief Executive of World Squash Federation (WSF), Andrew Shelley responded to the report too, he told TOI,

“Of course the views and choice of every parent must be fully respected. However, there are over 250 players and officials from 28 countries, including a full squad from Switzerland. Like the WSF, they all have complete confidence with the security arrangements made by Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association at the Championship Hotel and playing venues to ensure the safety of the players at this event.”

The incident sparked outrage on Twitter for obvious reasons:

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor vouched for the safety of women in an event in Chennai, but lamented that India has earned such an unsavoury reputation.

An association member of Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association reacted to the reports as well, he told The News Minute,

This is a disproportionate reaction to the situation and the participation of 280 players proves that.

There are also reports that teams have been advised to dress conservatively and keep a low profile. USA, Iran, and Australia are among other teams who have expressed concerns over the safety of their players.

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Heinous crimes against women have given rise to fear among tourists as well. The disturbing news of minors getting raped has worsened the situation. There is an urgency to bring reforms and work towards the safety of women and enforcing stringent laws for offenders. Our country has to implement effective measures to safeguard athletes or else more players will pull out of tournaments because of its tainted image.

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