Japan’s Olympic silver medallist Kasumi Ishikawa has been pulled out of a World Cup table tennis event because Chinese organisers could not guarantee her safety, becoming the latest sporting victim of a political crisis over disputed islands.
The decision was made two days before the start of the tournament in Huangshi, Kyodo news agency reported.
The 19-year-old Ishikawa, who won her medal in the women’s team event in London in August and was fourth in the singles, had been training in Beijing.
Japan Table Tennis Association general secretary Masahiro Maehara said they had been forced to withdraw her after hearing from their Chinese counterparts that her safety could not be guaranteed.
What is that about?
China and Japan have a long-standing dispute over an uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea – known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
The row escalated on Tuesday after two Japanese activists landed on one of the islands with Beijing describing the move as provocative. China lodged a complaint with Tokyo and said it reserved the right to take further action.
Also on Tuesday, China withdrew their badminton team from an event in Japan but refused to give a reason. One report said the cancellation was because the team were tired after competing in the Olympics, the Badminton Super League and the Masters Super Series.