x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Olympics: Chinese badminton star to quit sport over match-throwing disqualification

Yu Yang, disqualified from the Olympics after trying to lose matches, says her dreams have been 'heartlessly shattered' by the decision.

Chinese badminton player Yu Yang, who has been disqualified from the 2012 Olympics over match throwing
Chinese badminton player Yu Yang, who has been disqualified from the 2012 Olympics over match throwing

LONDON // 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 games, and her partner Wang Xiaoli were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation last night 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 page. "You have heartlessly shattered our dreams."

Yu and Wang, who were among China's star players and won the world championship in women's pairs last year, had previously 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".

Meanwhile Indonesia has called for Olympic organisers to review the format of the competition after seeing two of its players disqualified in the row.

"Indonesia always greatly honours the Olympic values and spirits as well as a fair game," Indonesian Sports and Youth Minister Andi Mallarangeng said in a statement posted on the Indonesian Badminton Association website.

"We respect the Badminton World Federation's decision but we want the BWF to review the competition system they used," he added.


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