Friday, October 1, 2010

Beijing Sports University Withdraws From Izumo Ekiden After Territorial Clash

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Sept. 30 the Japanese National University Athletics Federation [Gakuren] received an email from Beijing Sports University saying that its team will not take part in the 22nd Izumo Ekiden, to be held Oct. 11 in Shimane prefecture. This year was to be the first time since 1991 that a Chinese university team had taken part in the prestigious ekiden.

The email did not give a specific reason for the withdrawal of the team of eight runners and two coaches, but the move is believed to be in response to the current territorial conflict between Japan and China sparked by Japan's recent seizure of a Chinese fishing boat and arrest of its captain near the Senkaku archipelago in Okinawa prefecture. According to a Gakuren official the email message stated simply, "Due to sudden personal circumstances of several team members we are unable to field enough runners to take part in the competition."

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