Japanese Table Tennis Player Pulled From China Event Amid Political Strife
Japan Olympic table tennis Silver Medalist Kasumi Ishikawa has become "the latest sporting victim of a political crisis over disputed islands" after she withdrew from a World Cup event because Chinese organizers "could not guarantee her safety," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. The decision was made two days before the start of the tournament in Huangshi, China. Japan Table Tennis Association General Secretary Masahiro Maehara said that they had been forced to withdraw her after "hearing from their Chinese counterparts that her safety could not be guaranteed." Maehara: "Ishikawa was looking forward to playing so it really is disappointing, but the Chinese association has told us it wants to maintain friendly relations with Japan in the future" (REUTERS, 9/19). KYODO reported that the Japan Triathlon Union said that it has decided "not to send a contingent of nine players and coaches" to participate in the long distance Asian championships starting Sunday in Weihai, China. JTU Senior Dir Shinichiro Otsuka said, "Some of our athletes have had water thrown on them over the meet this month in China. We cannot ensure their safety" (KYODO, 9/19).