Japanese Olympic silver medallist warned to stay away from World Cup event in China
Thursday, 20 September 2012
September 20 - Olympic silver medallist Kasumi Ishikawa (pictured) has been forced to withdraw from the table tennis Women's World Cup in Huangshi, China, after organisers warned her that they could not guarantee her safety because of the rising anti-Japanese feeling in the country.
Ishikawa, who won a silver in the women's team event and was fourth in singles at London 2012, was due to make her first post-Olympic appearance at the World Cup starting tomorrow and is currently training in Beijing.
But the Chinese Table Tennis Association told its Japanese counterpart that the teenager should withdraw because of the continuing tension between the two countries over the ownership of the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands owned by Japan but claimed by China.
Japan Table Tennis Association general secretary Masahiro Maehara said there was no choice but to pull Ishikawa out given the circumstances.
"Ishikawa was looking forward to playing so it really is disappointing," said Maehara.
"The Chinese Table Tennis Association asked us to reconsider sending Ishikawa as it is deemed difficult to ensure her safety.
"Our Association and Ishikawa herself think there was no choice but to pull her.
"But the Chinese Association has told us it wants to maintain friendly relations with Japan in the future."
Ishikawa's withdrawal follows China's decision to remove more than 20 of its badminton players from the Japan Open, which opened in Tokyo on Tuesday (September 18).
Japan also had to withdraw its team from the Tour of China over fears for the riders safety, a Japan Cycling Federation (JCF) official said in Tokyo.
The riders are now returning from race, which started last Saturday (September 15) and is due to finish on Sunday (September 23).
"I have indirectly heard that the event's organisers were concerned about the safety of Japanese participants and any possible problem caused to the race," Tsuneo Owaki, the event manager of the JCF.
Owaki said the Japanese team, including six riders and several officials, was on its way home from China.
It remains uncertain whether Japan would still take part in the Tour of Beijing scheduled for October 9 until 13.
"I have no information at the moment," said Owaki.
September 2012: Shanghai Marathon latest event hit by Sino-Japan crisis
September 2012: Chinese badminton players withdraw from Japan Open over safety fears