London Olympic silver medalist Kasumi Ishikawa withdrew from the table tennis Women’s World Cup to be held in Huangshi, China, on Wednesday after organizers were unable to guarantee her safety amid pervading anti-Japanese sentiment in the country.
Ishikawa, who won a silver in the women’s team event and was fourth in singles at London, was set to make her first post-Olympic appearance at the World Cup starting on Friday and is currently training in Beijing.
The Chinese table tennis association, however, told its Japanese counterpart Wednesday morning that it could not promise Ishikawa’s safety during the three-day competition, asking to reconsider the 19-year-old’s participation as tension continues to linger between the two nations over Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands claimed by China.
Japan Table Tennis Association general secretary Masahiro Maehara said there was no choice but to pull Ishikawa given the circumstances. He added, however, that China wants to remain on good terms with Japan.
“Ishikawa was looking forward to playing so it really is disappointing,” Maehara said. “But the Chinese association has told us it wants to maintain friendly relations with Japan in the future.”