Olympics: China’s Yu Quits Badminton After Scandal

2 Aug

BEIJING: One of the star Chinese badminton players disqualified from the Olympics for throwing a match has announced she is quitting the sport, saying her dreams had been “heartlessly shattered”.

Yu, who won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and her partner Wang Xiaoli were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation on Wednesday for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match”.

“This is my last time competing. Goodbye Badminton World Federation, goodbye my beloved badminton,” Yu Yang said on her Weibo, or microblog, late Wednesday. “You have heartlessly shattered our dreams.”

Interviewed before the latest announcement Yu and Wang, who were among China’s star players, winning the world championship in women’s pairs badminton last year, both apologised to fans and pledged to play their best in future matches.

The scandal has been one of the most talked-about subjects on China’s Twitter-like microblogs this week, with many fans calling it a “humiliation” for the national team.

Many responded to Yu’s shock announcement with support and sympathy, although some remained critical.

“Go Yu Yang, never give up!” wrote a user called Zhao Yin.

“This is not your fault, we all understand,” said another using the handle “Water World”.

But another disagreed: “Yu Yang, this is what you deserve, please do not insult the Badminton World Federation or the noble sport of badminton.”

The Olympic match-throwing scandal also saw the Badminton World Federation disqualify two South Korean pairs and one Indonesian duo for trying to lose their first-round games.

The players involved were charged with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.

The country’s head badminton coach Li Yongbo said he should take the blame for the incident, which Chinese state media said “violates the Olympic spirit of fair competition.”

“As head coach, I owe the supporters of Chinese badminton and the Chinese TV audiences an apology,” the Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying in London Wednesday.

“Chinese players failed to demonstrate the fine tradition and fighting spirit of the national team. It’s me to blame.”

Yu’s announcement came after the Badminton World Federation announced that the disqualified athletes could continue to compete in future tournaments.

London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe described the scandal as “unacceptable”.

-AFP/ac

Channel News Asia

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