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Entries in Badminton (3)

Thursday
Aug022012

Booted Badminton Star Defends Losing

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- A Chinese badminton star booted from the Olympics for purposely trying to lose has quit the sport, but not before defiantly defending her actions and calling her disqualification from the games "unforgivable."

Many Chinese are now rallying around the disgraced Olympians.

"This is my last competition. Goodbye Badminton World Federation, goodbye my beloved badminton," Yu Yang wrote on her microblog Wednesday after being disqualified from the games.

Eight badminton players were kicked out of the Olympics Wednesday for deliberately trying to lose their matches to gain an advantage in the next round of competition, prompting many to condemn the players for cheating and unethical behavior.

Yu, however, was unapologetic and said her actions were not unethical.

"We were simply injured, simply chose to abandon the match within the rules. Simply to play better in the second phase of competition, the knockout rounds," wrote Yu. "Four years of preparation and hard work with injury, and they say it's gone and our right to compete is gone. You mercilessly ruined our dream. It's unforgivable."

Yu's announcement stunned fans.

Yu, who won the women's doubles gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, watched her reputation as a world champion disintegrate earlier that day as the Badminton World Federation kicked her, her partner Wang Xiaoli, and players from South Korea and Indonesia out of the competition for "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."

A crowd of thousands had booed the players' intentional underperformance the night before, prompting referees to issue warnings to the teams. The South Korean and Indonesian players appealed the disqualification unsuccessfully, while Chinese sporting authorities chose to accept the verdict.

The Chinese Olympic delegation issued a statement asserting that it "fully respects" the decision, and Chinese badminton coach Li Yongbo expressed his regret.

"Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit of the national team," the coach said.

Despite Yu's defiant announcement, the Chinese government-run news agency Xinhua reported that the players and coaches had apologized.

The scandal has sparked enormous discussion within China, ranking second on search engine Baidu's list of hot topics. On micro-blogging site Sina Weibo there were more than 15.4 million searches and 1.62 million new discussions on the subject within 24 hours.

While critics of Yu, Wang, and their coaches remain vocal, many in China are rallying in support of the players. According to a poll on Weibo, over 40 percent of the nearly 500,000 voters objected to the disqualification or sympathized with the athletes for being forced to lose. Users blamed the ruling on everything from jealousy to a poorly designed rule that gave an incentive to lose.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

US, British Olympians Claim Victories in Shadow of Badminton Scandal

Al Bello/Getty Images(LONDON) -- It was a triumphant day in the pool for Team USA.

Missy Franklin, the high school senior who won a gold medal Monday, swam to a second gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle, and Rebecca Soni broke the world record for the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 20 seconds in the semifinals.

Adding to the United States' winning streak at London's Aquatics Centre, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will face off in the final of the men's 200-meter individual medley, after Lochte finished first and Phelps second in Wednesday's semifinal.

U.S. swimmers Cammile Adams and Kathleen Hersey failed to medal in the women's 200-meter butterfly final. Hersey finished fourth and Adams fifth, while the Chinese Jiao Liuyang took gold.

On a day that began with a scandal over thrown badminton matches, Britain collected its first two gold medals of the 2012 Olympics with wins in rowing and cycling.

On Dorney Lake, rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover dominated the women's coxless pairs for the host's first gold medal. Stanning and Glover quickly opened a wide lead that never closed as New Zealand took silver and Australia took bronze. The pair were the first women rowers ever to win a gold medal for Britain.

The British were expecting cyclist Mark Cavendish to deliver the host country a medal on the first day, but a Kazakhstani cyclist beat him to an upset victory. British cyclist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, though, did not disappoint in the men's time trial, cruising to victory for his country's second gold medal. He is now Britain's most decorated Olympian.

Earlier in the day, U.S. cyclist Kristin Armstrong won her second gold medal in the women's time trial.

The women's badminton scandal cast a shadow on the rest of the day's events. After Chinese players were noticed deliberately losing a preliminary match to earn a favorable seed in the competition's next round, six of their South Korean and Indonesian counterparts followed suit, leading to the disqualification of eight players. The badminton federation rejected the appeals of the South Korean players, and the Indonesian players quickly dropped their appeals.

In tennis, Novak Djokovic handily beat Australian Lleyton Hewitt, while Venus Williams fell to German Angelique Kerber.

U.S. beach volleyball stars Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are set to take to the sand at 6 p.m. ET against Austria.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Olympic Badminton Players Disqualified Over Match Throwing

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- They tried to lose to win. And now they have been thrown out of the Olympics.

It was a stunt so glaring, so obvious that the crowds jeered and the referees tried to intervene.

It began when Chinese top seeded women Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang starting serving into the net and missed easy volleys. Already guaranteed a slot in the next round, they want to let South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na finish at the top of Group A so they could avoid playing Chinese compatriots and second seeds Tian Qingand Zhao Yunlei at least until the final. If the strategy worked China could win gold and silver.

The South Koreans realized what was happening and responded by copying the antics of the Chinese pair. That prompted the referee to stop play and warn all players. But play resumed, the match ending unusually quickly with the Koreans winning.

But it did not end there.

The other South Korean pair, third seeds Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, tried to orchestrate defeat in their game against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. They seemed to be trying to avoid Yu and Wang in the quarter-finals.

It gets worse. The Indonesians, spotting the shenanigans, tried to play along and lose too.

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The crowd was incensed. As were the TV commentators.

Clearly the players had conveniently forgotten the words of the Olympic oath they had pledged just days ago: "In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."

It did not take long for Badminton World Federation to respond. This morning the eight players were kicked out the Olympic games, accused of "not using one's best efforts to win" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."

All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage.

Speaking before the verdict, Korea's coach Sung Han-kook said: "The Chinese started this. They did it first. It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semi-final, they don't want that to happen. ...They (BWF) should do something about that."

A new round-robin stage was introduced at this year's games in place of a straight knockout tournament. In this new system losing one game can lead to an easier game in the next round.

There is zero sympathy for the players who so brazenly tried to game the system.

"I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport," said Gail Emms, a badminton Olympic silver medalist for Great Britain in 2004, who was at the event for BBC Sport. "This is the Olympic Games. This is something that is not acceptable. The crowd paid good money to watch two matches."

All this comes just a day after another controversy involving a Chinese swimming-star Ye Shiwen, a 16-year-old who snagged gold on Saturday in the 400 meter individual medley at a pace that shattered the world record by more than a second and knocked five seconds off her personal best in the final 50 meters of the race. She was even faster in that last lap than American medal winner Ryan Lochte in the men's race.

That victory prompted John Leonard, head of the American Swimming Coaches Association, to say her performance "was reminiscent of some old East German swimmer." That was a blunt suggestion that the Chinese were using illegal performance enhancing drugs as they had so frequently in the 1990s.

But Ye's doping tests came back clear and swimmers around the world jumped to her defense. The Chinese were indignant that anyone would suggest they would cheat at the Olympics.

Their cheating badminton players? They have promised to investigate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio