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Sports community reacts to Brussels terror attacks

Sports community reacts to Brussels terror attacks
Following the atrocities in Belgium, sports organizations and athletes have condemned the terror attacks and mourned those lost.

Thirty-four people were killed and at least 250 wounded in attacks on Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro station on Tuesday morning in Brussels.

READ MORE: What we know so far about the Brussels attacks

Terror group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has since claimed responsibility for the attacks, with tensions at an alarmingly high level in Europe. 

A number of sports stars were caught up in the tragedy.

Norwich City striker Dieumerci Mbokani was at the airport at the time of the attack and has been described as unharmed but shaken.

Belgian professional basketballer Sebastien Bellin was more directly involved, with a graphic image of the Gent Hawks star released on social media.

The Belgian football side were gearing up for an international friendly against Portugal next week in Brussels, and canceled team training for two days in a row on Tuesday and Wednesday, before ultimately canceling the friendly altogether after efforts to move it to Portugal failed. Belgium's last friendly against Spain in November was also canceled in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Understandably the focus has now shifted to the viability of Euro 2016, which is due to kick off in France this June.

Following the terror attacks in Paris last year there has been growing concern over security at the event – and again its practicality has been questioned.

UEFA executive committee vice-president Giancarlo Abete has stated that the competition will go ahead as scheduled but has not ruled out the possibility of games being played behind closed doors.

“Euro 2016 is the kind of event we can’t delay or postpone,” he said. 

“We can’t exclude the possibility of playing behind closed doors as we cannot exclude terrorism.

“If we talked about potentially cancellable games such as a friendly or a competitive match that could be moved to another date, obviously this would not be the case.”

Welsh national team boss Chris Coleman has stressed that it is critical that the tournament proceeds as planned this summer.

"It's what everybody wants. It’s what the people want and we should make sure that happens,” he said.

"I think these people would have us stay in our houses, locked up 24 hours a day if we let them have their way. That shouldn't happen.”

A host of sports organizations and athletes have taken to Twitter to show their dismay at what has happened, with a selection shown below.