Are Fencers Flying into Danger in Thailand?

"Red Shirt" anti-government protesters take to the streets Friday in Bangkok.

On Wednesday, US Fencing National team members Ben Igoe and Tim Morehouse will depart for the Thailand World Cup of Fencing along with a number of other US athletes and men’s saber fencers from around the world. 

The current situation in Bangkok has turned violent in recent days leading the US State Department to issue this alert…

Due to escalating violence in central Bangkok, all U.S. citizens should avoid nonessential travel to Bangkok…On the evening of April 22, 2010, several explosions occurred in the Silom/Sala Daeng area at the Sala Daeng BTS Skytrain station causing a number of injuries, including at least one fatality.  The possibility of more such attacks cannot be ruled out.  U.S. citizens should avoid travel to and lodging in this area. (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1998.html)

The fencers will be arriving in Bangkok before boarding a bus to take them 95 miles outside of Bangkok to a military installation where the competition is being held.  The competition will count towards international ranking and team qualification. 

This is not the first time USA athletes have faced traveling to countries in political turmoil.  In 2008, Olympian Becca Ward refused to travel and compete in Algeria due to the ongoing kidnapping and killings of westerners in the country and twice over the past 4 years US fencers have traveled to Iran for qualifying tournaments with US State department warnings in effect.

Hope they travel safely! (i.e. hope I travel safely!)