- Special Sections
- Public Notices
LONDON (AP) — A Chinese badminton star is apparently quitting the sport after she was one of eight players disqualified from the doubles tournament at the London Olympics for trying to lose.
A comment on a verified account for Yu Yang on the Tencent microblogging service late Wednesday read: “This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton.”
Yu’s retirement could not be immediately confirmed with Chinese badminton officials. In China, the lives of top athletes are closely controlled by sports officials.
Yu and Wang Xiaoli were one of four doubles teams which appeared to play poorly on purpose to secure a more favorable position in the next phase of the event.
Two teams from South Korea and another from Indonesia were disqualified from competition but allowed to stay at the games, the penalty for positive drug tests.
It appeared to be the first mass disqualification in Olympic history.
The feeble play was obvious to fans who watched the matches Tuesday night at Wembley Arena
— they chanted, “Off! Off! Off!” — and to incredulous television broadcasters and viewers watching around the world.
“They’re serving fault and fault! They are just hitting the ball into the net!” the BBC’s David Mercer said in disbelief. “They are both trying to lose, and that is unforgivable. This is the Olympic Games.”
The Chinese players set off a domino effect when they tried to rig the draw after China’s second-seeded pair unexpectedly lost to a Danish team in the morning. The South Koreans and Indonesians, wanting to avoid a tough opponent as well, followed suit in later matchups.
Teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the cause of the problem. The round-robin format can allow results to be manipulated to earn an easier matchup in the knockout round.
None of the players was made available for interviews.