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Darfur plea may hamper funding.

WELSH badminton star Richard Vaughan believes he has risked his place at this summer's Beijing Games by calling on China to do more to halt the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Vaughan, who competed in Athens four years ago, said it was vital athletes challenged the Chinese government to use its trade links to put pressure on the Sudanese government over Darfur.

However, he is concerned speaking out may jeopardise his chances of being selected for Beijing despite the British Olympic Association saying they would rethink a section of the contract that barred competitors from commenting on politically sensitive issues during the event.

"I appreciate it's a difficult position for the British Olympic Committee, but it's very difficult to keep a polite silence about a conflict that continues to cost so many lives,"

"In the spirit of the Games, I would ask China as all nations to help Darfur, so that athletes can compete safe in the knowledge that everything is being done to stop the conflict.

"The British badminton authorities will think I am just trying to cause trouble.

"They want to keep their jobs, they want to look good so they'll toe the line. I think I can kiss my funding goodbye."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 12, 2008
Words:207
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