Sporting tensions

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Sporting tensions

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Escalating tensions between China and Japan over an uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea has spilled over to the sporting world.

China has withdrawn its badminton players from this week’s Japan Open amid the worsening political crisis.

But to some Japanese players the absence of their Chinese counterparts, although regrettable, is not the end of the world.

Japanese badminton player Reika Kakiiwa said: “It is quite a pity that the Chinese players are not here but there are so many other strong countries participating and all we can do is to give it our all during the first match.”

The sale of the islands – known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China – from a private Japanese owner to the country’s government infuriated the Chinese who stake a claim to the energy-rich waters surrounding the isles.

In another sporting twist to the tensions Japanese riders, personnel, journalists and photographers have been asked to leave this week’s Tour of China.