Badminton Life

BWF Wants Explanation from China Over Match Fixing Comment

Badminton World Federation (BWF) is still seeking an explanation from China over recent comments by their head coach that they have fixed matches in the past.

BWF posed 10 questions to Chinese badminton officials during the council meeting on the sidelines of last month's Thomas Cup and Uber Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Chinese failed to provide a full response to the 10 questions. In addition, they failed to comply with a deadline to answer the questions that expired last week. It is not known what the BWF's next move will be, while the Chinese appear happy to let the issue drag on.

It all started early this year when national coach Li Yongbo admitted publically that the 2004 Athens Olympic women's singles semi-final between Zhou Mi and Zhang Ning was arranged.

Chinese coaches felt Zhang would have a better chance of winning the gold so they told Zhou to not try so hard. Zhang advanced to the final and won the gold medal, as scripted by the Chinese.

Li said he had no problems with such arrangements, saying it was patriotic. China has a history of favouring certain players when two of them meet at international events.

At April's Asian Championships in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, world number one Lin Dan failed to play his best as he lost to compatriot Chen Jin in the semi-finals.

All England champion Chen needed to enter the final to ensure a ranking of fourth in the world and thereby guarantee his place in the Olympics.

Countries are only allowed two singles players in the main draw of the Olympic competition unless one nation has more than two ranked in the top four of the world.

China fulfilled this condition with Chen's victory over Lin. Also joining them in Beijing is Bao Chunlai, the world number three.

Match-fixing is a problem in badminton, though not from illegal betting but from countries wanting to make use of loopholes to enhance their chances of winning.

At May's Thomas Cup in Jakarta, South Korea lost all their group matches so they could avoid China in the quarter-finals. As it turned out, they met Denmark instead and reached the final, losing to China 3-1.

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