Suffolk tennis coach in riot

RELATIVES of a national tennis coach from Suffolk have spoken of their ordeal after he was caught up in civil unrest in Uzbekistan.James Trotman, 26, a former junior Wimbledon doubles' champion, was working with a group of British tennis players in Andijan in the former Soviet republic when violent clashes began at the end of last week.

RELATIVES of a national tennis coach from Suffolk have spoken of their ordeal after he was caught up in civil unrest in Uzbekistan.

James Trotman, 26, a former junior Wimbledon doubles' champion, was working with a group of British tennis players in Andijan in the former Soviet republic when violent clashes began at the end of last week.

He has told of being surrounded by loud gunfire, while the players spent a night huddled together in a tennis club before escaping the mass panic under armed guard.

Mr Trotman has sent two text messages to his family in Tuddenham St Martin, near Ipswich, to assure them he is safe - but his mother Linda said she was still waiting to speak to him and would be relieved when he arrived back in England. The group are due to fly home today.

The tennis coach was on the trip with players Arvind Parmar, Jamie Delgado, David Sherwood, Richard Bloomfield, Jonny Marray and Dan Kiernan, who had been competing in the Andijan Futures tournament.

Violence flared in the city after up to 4,000 prisoners were set free by armed men protesting at the country's rising levels of poverty. They have called for the resignation of president Islam Karimov.

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It is reported that at least 200 people have been killed during fighting between Government forces and militants and Uzbek security forces have now sealed off the centre of Andijan and roads into the city.

Mrs Trotman said: "I have not spoken to him but we have had a couple of text messages from him and he said that he is okay and we have been kept informed by the Lawn Tennis Association."

A spokesman for the LTA said last night: "We have been in constant contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British consulate in Tashkent, and the International Tennis Federation as well as the six players and officials.

"The players and coach are now in Tashkent and we continue to work on bringing them home as soon as it is safe and feasible to do so."

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