March 23, 2020 / 5:49 AM / 9 days ago

REFILE-Olympics-Japan soccer player Kawasumi pulls out of torch relay

(Fixes typo in 'relay' in paragraph 3)

TOKYO, March 23 (Reuters) - Japanese soccer international Nahomi Kawasumi said on Monday she was withdrawing from the Tokyo 2020 torch relay, citing worry about the risk of being infected with the coronavirus, or infecting others, if she travelled back from the United States.

Kawasumi, a high-profile athlete in Japan known for helping her country win its first World Cup in 2011, plays for Sky Blue FC in New Jersey, near New York City which has seen a surge in coronavirus infections.

"Because of the new coronavirus, I am withdrawing from the torch relay," she said on Twitter.

"I have made the decision so I don't cause trouble for my team and my fans."

Kawasumi is the latest from the sporting world to voice fears about participating in the Summer Olympics or related events because of the coronavirus epidemic.

Team Canada announced it would not send its athletes to Tokyo 2020, after the International Olympic Committee said it would reach a decision within four weeks on whether to postpone the Games. (Reporting by Chris Gallagher Editing by Robert Birsel)

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