Hockey: England hotel bomb

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The Independent Online
BOMBAY suffered a series of bomb explosions within hours of the England team arriving yesterday for the Indira Gandhi Tournament. One blast damaged the 16th floor of the Searock Sheraton Hotel where the team were staying on the 11th floor.

At the time of the explosion, the team, which is made up of Under- 21 players only, were around the swimming pool and some suffered minor cuts from flying glass.

Alan Walker, the England manager, has had discussions with the Indian Hockey Federation and has sought assurances for the team's safety. He has asked for the team to be moved to another hotel nearer the ground, the current hotel being at least a one and a half hours journey away. Walker has also demanded round-the-clock police protection at the hotel and during journeys to the ground.

A Hockey Association spokesman said yesterday: 'We are waiting for the dust to settle and (we are) taking Foreign Office advice.' He added: 'We are not at this stage bringing the team home.'

France, England's opponents in the opening game on Monday, have not yet departed for Bombay and are seeking similar assurances before travelling. There is no news of Poland and Russia, who have yet to arrive in the city. The tournament has already been postponed twice beacuse of domestic violence.

The tournament is the first since David Whitaker was reappointed England coach. If it were now abandoned it would be a setback for him and a waste of the opportunity he gave himself, by selecting an Under-21 side, to take an early look at the players likely to compete for places in the Under 21-squad for this summer's Junior World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.