Pingpang. The Japanese table tennis star Jun Mizutani hasn't been seen in international competitions since after the 2012 London Olympics. In various table tennis websites and forums, the reason stated was the decision of the Japanese player to boycott all international competitions.
In deeper analysis, of course, Jun Mizutani, as a world-renowned player, is not expected to just refuse from playing for no reason at all. There must be a bigger issue behind it.
Upon investigation, last year, Jun Mizutani raised a rather sensitive issue to the President of the International Table Tennis Federation, Mr. Adham Sharara, concerning fair play in international competitions. On the issue, Mizutani bravely revealed that there are some athletes from other countries who illegally use booster agents and other tuning methods in competitions thus giving them unfair advantage.
With the degree of concern from Jun Mizutani, he was actually expecting a satisfactory answer from the international governing body of table tennis. However, there was no decent answers from the ITTF which eventually led to the decision of the Japanese player to boycott all international competitions until his concern receives satisfactory solutions.
This eventually explains his absence in the 2012 Grand Finals where he was very much qualified. Indeed, Mizutani's bold action was taken up by the ITTF in their Executive Committee Meeting last December 13, 2012.
In an interview with the Chinese world champion Ding Ning, she commented: "I really haven't heard about the issue. We should check the rackets before the competition and the process should be fair and impartial so that there will be no room for questioning."
When asked if she knew anyone who employs such illegal advantage, she firmly added: "I do not know with other players all I know is myself."
Truly, Jun Mizutani's advocacy on fair play is very commendable where he sacrificed his great talents on table tennis just to show everyone the necessity for a sensible solution. However, the question now is it all worth it as he is the only one fighting for it among the Japanese Team at least? Should he make an exemption and play in the 2013 World Championships in Paris?
Photo source: Getty Images Europe / Feng Li