Ex-Black Cap Hart horrified by calls for Kiwi sportspersons to go to terror-hit Pakistan

March 11th, 2009 - 2:00 pm ICT by ANI  

Hamilton (New Zealand), Mar.11 (ANI): Calls for New Zealand sports people to continue touring countries at risk of terrorist attack have horrified former Hamilton and Black Cap cricketer Rob Hart.
In 2002, Hart was touring Pakistan with the Black Caps.
In an article for the Waikato Times, Hart said that he was seconds away from losing his life in 2002.
“In Karachi, Pakistan, I was proudly representing the Black Caps test cricket team and a bomb went off directly outside our hotel. I had just opened my hotel room door after returning from breakfast and had taken several steps into the room. Being several floors up in the hotel, I was lucky that the shrapnel, glass and entire side of my room which was destroyed blasted into the ceiling rather than blowing directly across the room as happened in lower floors, Hart says.
“I was knocked off my feet, but was lucky that everything fell down on to me rather than hitting me directly. Had it occurred a second later and I was closer to the centre of the room, I wouldn”t be here today. My experience, which I”ve kept private to date (even with those closest to me), may add some balance to the views currently being expressed on whether sports people should tour areas threatened by terrorists, he added.
“The recent attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan has brought this debate back out into the open. Should sports people lead a silent revolution against terrorism and continue to tour dangerous zones, confronting the threat and standing tall in the face of danger? Or is valuing sport up there with the preciousness of life a nonsense?
“I saw sights in 2002 that no-one should ever have to see. People with limbs missing wandering in shock around the scene. People, still conscious, cut beyond recognition by glass and shrapnel. The local security forces abandoning us as they feared we were the target, he said.
“We stood in a car park alone but for our teammates and management for 20 minutes while the traffic and chaos passed by us. We were sitting ducks had we been the target. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life, Hart said.
“The terror of expecting not to live beyond the hour cannot be described. Two of my closer mates in the team went looking for me in my room and assumed that I had not made it out. Grown men broke down. These are experiences which I still struggle with on a daily basis. A part of me changed that morning back in 2002. Sports people should choose their own fate, free from outside pressure.
“For me, it’’s only sport and life is too precious to risk life and limb for, Hart concluded. (ANI)

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