Chinese women golfers told to pull out of Taiwan event: Sources
Chinese women golfers told to pull out of Taiwan event: SourcesReuters|Oct 23, 2018, 11.33 PM ISTBy Peter Rutherford
Chinese players on the elite US professional womenâs golf tour have pulled out of this weekâs tournament in Taiwan at the 11th hour, after being told by someone âhigh upâ in China to skip the event, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
They said world No. 9 Shanshan Feng and rookie Yu Liu were told during last weekendâs event in Shanghai that they should not play in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship, which starts in Taipei on Thursday.
China, which views self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province, has ramped up pressure to asser t its sovereignty. Ties have deteriorated since 2016, when President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence leaning Democratic Progressive Party came to power.
The United States sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday in its second such operation this year, as its military steps up the frequency of transits through the busy strategic waterway, despite opposition from China.
Sometimes the ill-feeling between China and Taiwan engulfs sporting events.
In July, for example, China blamed âindependence activistsâ for the cancellation of an Olympic event in Taiwan, shrugging off Taipeiâs accusation that Beijingâs âpolitical bullyingâ was behind the revocation of its right to host a youth game.
It is unclear who told Feng and Liu, the only two Chinese golfers confirmed for the event in Taiwan, not to attend, but, barring injury, it is highly unusual for players to withdraw at such a late stage.
âThey said I canât respond regarding the issue o f withdrawing from the competition,â Liu told Reuters via her official account on the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo, referring to her agents.
Asked about why she had pulled out of the tournament, she declined to comment but said it was ânot for personal reasonsâ.
One source at the tournament said officials there had no plans to fine the players for withdrawing so late in the day, âgiven the circumstancesâ.
A media officer for the LPGA at the tournament said he was aware the two players had pulled out, but did not elaborate on the reason.
Until Monday, the picture profiles of both Feng and Liu figured on the tournamentâs official website and the LPGA had listed their names in the âfinal fieldâ, but by Tuesday, both profiles were gone from the website.
Ruby Chen, the Shanghai based agent for both Feng and Liu, told Reuters on Tuesday the golfers would not attend the Taiwan event, but declined to comment why they were withdrawing, whi le denying that any pressure had been put on them to do so.
Contacted by Reuters for comment, the General Administration of Sport of China said it had no idea about the incident and referred queries to the golf association.
The China Golf Association did not answer several telephone calls to seek comment.
Read more onChinaUS professional womenâs golf tourLPGA Taiwan ChampionshipDemocratic Progressive PartyGeneral Administration of Sport of ChinaShanshan FengYu LiuCommenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
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