• Kyodo

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Badminton doubles players Noriyasu Hirata and Hirokatsu Hashimoto have ruled themselves out of contention for this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics due to personal reasons of one of the athletes, Kyodo News learned Wednesday from various sources.

The Nippon Badminton Association accepted their withdrawal and removed the pair from Japan’s team to the BWF Super Series opener and the All England Open, as well as other overseas events.

Hirata and Hashimoto, who won the national championships for three years in a row from 2009, were 19th in the Badminton World Federation’s Feb. 18 rankings and still had a chance to secure their tickets to the Games.

Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa were ranked sixth in the same ranking, while Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda were 18th.

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