Disqualified China badminton player 'to quit'

A combination of pictures on 1 August, 2012, shows eight badminton players disqualified Wednesday in a match-fixing scandal at the Olympic badminton tournament in London. (Top Row L-R) South Korea's Kim Ha Na, Ha Jung-Eun, Kim Min-Jung, Jung Kyung-Eun, (Bottom Row L-R) Indonesia's Greysia Polii, Meiliana Jauhari and China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang The eight players were disqualified after being accused of ''not using one's best effort to win''

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One of the Chinese badminton players disqualified from the Olympics says she is quitting the sport, saying her dream has been "heartlessly shattered".

"This is my last time competing. Goodbye Badminton World Federation; goodbye beloved badminton," Yu Yang said on her Twitter-like weibo account.

She and Wang Xiaoli were among eight players disqualified for trying to lose matches.

China has said it fully respects the decision to disqualify its players.

Badminton head coach Li Yongbo has apologised, saying players failed to demonstrate "fighting spirit".

Two South Korean pairs and an Indonesian pair were also disqualified.

An Indonesian official told the BBC that deliberately trying to lose their last group match was part of the team's strategy.

'Simple as that'

Yu Yang blamed new competition rules for causing the problem.

Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

The introduction of a round-robin stage, rather than a straight knock-out tournament, meant that losing one match could lead to an easier match in the next round.

The players, Yu said via her accredited Tencent Weibo, were simply leveraging the new rules to ensure that they performed better.

''It's as simple as that; nothing complicated. But there is no forgiveness for that,'' she added.

Yu's partner Wang also posted comments on her Tencent Weibo, saying players were being made to pay the price for flaws in the new rules.

''What you've cancelled is not just a game, but my dream!'' she said.

All four badminton pairs were seen making a series of basic errors in Tuesday's matches. They were charged by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and disqualified in London on Wednesday.

The official body has come under fire from several former world-class players, who say that it should have anticipated events given the change of format.

'Olympic way'

The Chinese Olympic delegation respected the BWF's decision, it said in a statement, describing its players' behaviour as "against the spirit of fair play".

The delegation had ''severely criticised and educated'' the parties responsible, said an unnamed delegation spokesman in a separate Xinhua report.

The officials demanded that the players ''profoundly recognise the seriousness and the harmfulness of this matter, reflect deeply on it, publicly apologise and resolutely prevent such incidents from happening again'', the report said.

Tournament referee Torsten Berg (2nd L) speaks to players from China (in yellow) and South Korea during their women's doubles group play stage in London on 31 July 2012 Wang and Yu, in yellow, said new rules for the competition were flawed

The row provoked strong reaction on China's internet forums, with millions of online comments posted in support of the Chinese duo.

"How could they say this is cheating? It's the rules that are not right!" said one post from Henan in response to Wang's comments.

"Those judges are just letting people down. If football lets you lose to avoid some opponents, why can't badminton?" a Sina Weibo user in Chongqing asked.

And although some commentators criticised the players' behaviour, in a poll launched by Tencent Weibo, just 18% out of the 27,800 participants agreed the players should be punished as of 1445 local time (0645 GMT)

Strategy

An appeal by South Korea over the disqualification was rejected by the BWF and Indonesia withdrew its appeal.

Indonesian officials have admitted to the BBC's Indonesian service that deliberately trying to lose their last group match was part of the team's strategy.

Ade Lukman, the deputy chief of Indonesia's Olympic contingent, told the BBC that other teams were using the same strategy too and that if Indonesia did not, it would lose.

Alan Budikusuma, an Indonesian badminton Olympic gold medallist, told the BBC that he had been asked by coaches to deliberately lose a match in a tournament in the past to better his team's chances.

The reaction to the disqualification in Indonesia has been one of muted national shame, says the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta.

"We respect the Badminton World Federation's decision but we want the BWF to review the competition system they used," said Indonesian Sports and Youth Minister Andi Mallarangeng.

In South Korea, newspapers and comments online were largely disapproving of the country's players' actions in the scandal, reports said.

One newspaper said the players had ''disgraced the Olympic spirit and embarrassed the country''.

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