China’s Yu Yang Talks Badminton Scandal, Team USA’s Tony Gunawan Loses To Japan
After eight badminton players were kicked out of the 2012 London Olympic games on Wednesday for throwing their respective matches the previous evening, the sport of badminton garnered mainstream attention, and badminton players everywhere, like China's disqualified Yu Yang, are up in arms.
On Wednesday, four badminton teams — two doubles teams from South Korea, and one doubles team each from China and Indonesia — were kicked out of the Olympic games for allegedly throwing their respective matches on Tuesday, trying to lose on purpose, reports CNN.
The eight players, who included Yang and her women's doubles partner, Wang Xiaoli, who were ranked No. 1 in the world, were disqualified based on accusations that they were trying to lose the games in order to face easier opponents in subsequent rounds for which they had already qualified, thereby helping ensure advancement. Ultimately, the players seemed to be strategizing around the rules of the game, which sometimes give players incentive to lose.
The lackluster matches were immediately met with boos from spectators, some of whom later demanded refunds. Though the Indonesian and South Korean pairs appealed the decision, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) seems fixed on the matter. "The rules say you have to win every match, and that doesn't mean you throw some matches and win other matches," explained Thomas Lund, the secretary general for the BWF, reports the New York Times.
Yang from China took a different approach. "This is my last match," she wrote on her microblog account on Wednesday. "Farewell Badminton World Federation, farewell my beloved badminton." On Weibo, an equivalent to Twitter in China, Yang blamed the badminton rules and a previous injury for her throwing the game. "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 Yang, as translated on ABC News. "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."
Meanwhile, Team USA's own Tony Gunawan, 37, (pictured) a gold medalist who, at times, has been considered the greatest doubles badminton player alive, alongside his partner Howard Bach, was earnestly trying to win his match against Japan's Naoki Kawame and Shoji Sato in his last Olympic games before retirement, but was sadly outmatched, 21-15 and 21-15, reports the L.A. Times.
"It has been a long time for me. I had a really good run," said Californian Gunawan. "The result here was not good but my career has been really good."
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