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In light of recent bombings in Turkey, USA Archery first and foremost sends our deepest condolences to the victims of these attacks and our hearts are with their families.
USA Archery is closely monitoring the current situation in Turkey and we have ongoing communication to those on the team about the information we receive. When situations like this arise, USA Archery turns to three sources for information related to the threat levels for travel. The first is the local organizing committee, which in this case is World Archery, who also consults local government authorities. The second is the U.S. State Department and their travel advisories and the third being the United States Olympic Committee's internal security team.
At this point the feedback is to be cautious, but there is no travel restriction from any of these sources. Certainly, we do not want any archer to go to the competition if they feel unsafe, and we have had several archers withdraw their participation in the event.
Cancelling our team's participation in the event would be our last resort as for many archers this is possibly a once in a lifetime experience to compete and represent USA. We want to be careful about denying anyone that opportunity if World Archery determines to continue to hold the event and believes they can provide a safe environment for the archers.
World Archery General Secretary Tom Dielen commented: "As far as the information we currently have, [the attack] was against military personnel and not civilians. We keep on monitoring things, but the championship will go ahead unless the Turkish authorities decide to cancel, which I doubt. We still consider the area we will be safe." He assures us that "all necessary security measures will be put in place and will be implemented by the Ankara police. We have to make it clear that this probably will mean additional checking at the entrance of the hotels and the venue and therefore we ask all team managers to inform the team members to cooperate in this area."
USOC Security reflected the current State Department's warning that while there is a travel warning, travel is not prohibited. The current information on Turkey refers to the region around the Syrian boarder, which does not include Ankara. All of the statements regarding Ankara are condemning the attacks.
USA Archery would never require our archers or staff to travel to, or compete, in a situation where they felt unsafe. We have been in contact with all archers on the team and have assured them that while we are continuing to move forward with this event at this point, they are welcome to withdraw if they choose.
Photo: Emily Bee
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