KUALA LUMPUR - China has withdrawn all its badminton players from this week's Japan Open, the Badminton World Federation said Tuesday, amid worsening ties between Beijing and Tokyo over a territorial row.
"The BWF can confirm the Chinese contingent has withdrawn from the Japan Open," Thomas Lund, the BWF's chief operating officer told AFP.
"It is unfortunate but the tournament will go on," he added.
The Japan Open began on Tuesday and ends on Sunday with the BWF re-drawing the men's singles, women's singles and men's doubles ties.
China and Japan are involved in an escalating territorial dispute over the Diaoyu islands, a small island chain in the East China Sea.
The Chinese Badminton Association sent a letter to the BWF saying that its players would not be competing in the eighth leg of the Super Series event, S. Selvam, BWF's Superseries marketing manager, told AFP.
The absence of strong Chinese players such as Lin Dan could be a blessing for top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia who becomes the new favourite to win the Japan Open.
Chen Long and Chen Jin are two other top Chinese players who will now not be competing.