Well, this is just tainted with irony: the Badminton World Federation (BWF) stated on Tuesday that all of the Chinese players had been withdrawn from this week’s Japan Open tournament. The reason? Chinese officials say the worsening relations between Tokyo and Beijing over protests and the disputed islands has them fearful for their players’ safety. The Chinese are fearful for their safety while their own countrymen severely beat each other just for driving a Toyota and their government blames Japan for any vandalism and crime that takes place during protests? Sure, that makes sense.
Thomas Lund, the COO for the BWF confirmed that the Chinese players had pulled out, but unfortunately the tournament will move forward. The Table Tennis and Badminton Center of China stated that they quit the Japan Open and notified the BWF on September 14th that their 22 players would not be competing due to safety concerns in relation to the Japan-China territory tensions. The tournament began on Tuesday, September 18th, and is scheduled to finish on Sunday.
With China’s exit, Malaysia’s Chong Wei is now seen as the favorite to win the Japan Open. Chen Long, Lin Dan, and Chen Jin are among the top Chinese players not competing who were expected to defend the title for their country. But at least badminton fans in China will be able to relax knowing their star players are safe from the out of control Japanese demonstrators.[via Asiaone]