- Title: JAPAN: Badminton: China withdraws badminton stars from Japan Open
- Date: 18th September 2012
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 18, 2012) (REUTERS) NEWS CONFERENCE REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN BADMINTON FEDERATION MANAGING DIRECTOR, YOSHIO SEKINE, SAYING: "China cancelled its participation of the tournament this time and it is a real pity but I think the remaining players will play well." NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE BADMINTON PLAYER REIKA KAKIIWA, SAYING: "It is quite a pity that the Chinese players are not here but there are many other strong countries and all we can do is to give it our all during the first match." SIGN IN ENGLISH READING: "OSIM BWF WORLD SUPER SERIES" (SOUNDBITE) (English) DANISH BADMINTON PLAYER PETER GADE, SAYING: "Well, of course it is an advantage I think it is for all the rest of the men's players because the Chinese players are really strong. Especially Chong Wei and some of the other players have shown that they are capable of beating the Chinese on some occasions, but Lin Dan and Chen Long and Chen Jin not being here of course, it is better for us." PLAYERS STANDING UP PEOPLE LEAVING.
- Embargoed: 3rd October 2012 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA53YYIFKRJLCP16V9LDYA421BR
- Story Text: China has withdrawn its badminton players from this week's Japan Open amid a worsening political crisis over disputed islands.
However China insists that the absence of some of the world's leading players from the event in Tokyo is down to nothing more than tiredness.
"China cancelled its participation of the tournament this time and it is a real pity, but I think the remaining players will play well," confirmed vice-chairman of the Japan Badminton Association, Yoshio Sekine .
Japanese badminton player Reika Kakiiwa expressed regret that her Chinese rivals would not be there.
"It is quite a pity that the Chinese players are not here but there are many other strong countries and all we can do is to give it our all during the first match," said Kakiiwa.
The long-standing dispute over an uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea - known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - took a fresh twist on Tuesday (September 18) after two Japanese activists landed on one of the islands.
The political row escalated on the anniversary of Japan's pre-war invasion of its neighbour, with relations between Asia's two biggest economies deteriorating badly.
Japanese businesses shut hundreds of stores and plants across China, and Japan's embassy in Beijing again came under siege by protesters hurling water bottles, waving Chinese flags, and chanting anti-Japan slogans, evoking war-time enmity.
Last week the Japanese government decided to nationalise some of the islands, buying them from a private Japanese owner, in a move which inflamed the dispute.
Political analysts say China also upped the stakes when it announced precise boundaries for waters it claims around the islands.
Now China's badminton elite appear to be another casualty of the diplomatic row.
Brief profiles of the leading Chinese players still appeared on the tournament's website on Tuesday in a section highlighting those who were favourites for the event.
Their absence means that lesser-ranked players have a better shot at victory.
"Well, of course it is an advantage I think it is for all the rest of the men's players because the Chinese players are really strong," said Danish player Peter Gade.
"Especially Chong Wei and some of the other players have shown that they are capable of beating the Chinese on some occasions, but Lin Dan and Chen Long and Chen Jin not being here of course, it is better for us."
With the Chinese out of the men's draw, Lee Chong Wei is seeded first seed, Gade second, Simon Santoso of Indonesia third and Japan's Sho Sasaki fourth.
The women's draw is headed by Denmark's Tine Baun, South Korea's Ji Hyun-sung, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, and South Korean Yeon Ju-bae.
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