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2005 May 17 - Brits back from Uzbekistan

Richard Bloomfield spoke of the unrest in Uzbekistan which prompted a hasty return from the Andijan Futures tournament for the British contingent.

The 22-year-old British player said:

"Where the tennis club was we could hear the gunshots but had no idea how close they were because it was surrounded by trees."

With advice from the British Embassy in Tashkent the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) were quick to pass on urgent instructions. Richard added:

"The Embassy said we had to get out of there as soon as possible in case it got any worse."

Having spent a night at the tennis club the party were escorted under armed guard out of Andijan. It was only once they were safe that the true nature of the situation became apparent:

"We put CNN on in the hotel and saw how bad it was. We realised it was pretty serious and that we had a lucky escape."

There was relief from the players and their families once they finally arrived back in London. Richard added:

"It was very nice to see my family. In some ways it was worse for our families because they were watching the events on the television. They must have been getting very worried."

The British party included: Arvind Parmar, Jamie Delgado, Richard Bloomfield, David Sherwood, Jonny Marray, Dan Kiernan, coach James Trotman and referee Carl Baldwin.

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