The Straits Times
Published on Sep 19, 2012

Japan paddler pulled from China event as row goes on


HUANGSHI, China (REUTERS) - 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, who won a silver in the women's team event at the London Olympics 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.

"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," Mr Maehara told Kyodo.