Badminton player quits after scandal

Badminton player quits after scandal

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Badminton player quits after scandal

An official speaks to players from China and South Korea during a match at the Olympics. Yu (2R) retires from the sport in the wake of match-throwing scandal. REUTERS Photo

A top Chinese badminton star quit the sport yesterday as an Olympic match-throwing scandal met with dismay and criticism in China, Indonesia and South Korea, from where eight players were disqualified.

The Badminton World Federation’s move to eject a Chinese, an Indonesian and two South Korean duos for failing to play their best, marked the first major scandal of the Games and prompted China’s Yu Yang to retire from the sport.

The IOC asked the Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian national Olympic committees to investigate the coaches of the badminton players. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said “we have asked the NOCs to look into the entourage issue” to determine whether team coaches, trainers or officials should also be punished.

Sports fans and the media in all three countries expressed disappointment, with some saying it was humiliating to have their national players implicated in the scandal, while others were sympathetic to the athletes.

“Match fixing tramples on sports ethics and shouldn’t be tolerated,” an opinion piece in China’s state-run Global Times said yesterday.

The paper was among several news outlets and many ordinary citizens from the Asian countries to suggest that the new round-robin format motivated players to lose, though most agreed that nothing excused match-throwing.

China’s sports delegation urged Yu, her partner Wang Xiaoli and head badminton coach Li Yongbo to publicly apologize.

After her apology, Yu announced that she planned to quit the sport.

“This is my last time competing. Goodbye my beloved badminton,” she posted. “After working hard and dealing with injuries to prepare, (you) say we’re disqualified and we’re disqualified. You have heartlessly shattered our dreams.”