Badminton Life

Beijing Badminton Organisers Fuming Over 'False' English Flag Report

With team rivalry and the quest for gold already the source of simmering tensions among teams competing at the Olympics, the stakes have been raised even higher with a controversy that has caused divisions between the British badminton squad and their Chinese hosts.

According to a Xinhua report, the British had apparently complained that the English flag had been hung at the Games badminton venue, the Beijing University of Technology, instead of the Union Flag.

The English flag is represented by the Cross of St George and is used for the England team at the Commonwealth Games and other sports where the English are not part of Great Britain.

The Union Flag, however, is used at the Olympics, where the Great Britain team is represented by athletes from all over Britain, which also includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The complaint was reportedly lodged by British Olympic official Clive Woodward during a chefs de mission meeting.

However, Ren Chunhui, executive deputy director of the Beijing Olympic badminton competition blasted the report, which was first published by an Australian news outlet.

He said the media department responsible for the Olympic badminton competition had been informed of "the irresponsible report", adding that they had not hung either flag.

"We didn't hang the English flag in our gym, not Union Jack flag either," said Ren. "We are considering seeking apology from the reporter."

Ren said that there were several Britons working at the venue and they could also prove that the Chinese had not hung any flags that would upset the British team.

The Olympics is the only major sporting event in which England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete under one flag.

At the Commonwealth Games, they are separate entities, as they are for almost all sports, including soccer.

However, in rugby union, players from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a country on its own, play as one Ireland team.

The British Olympic team is dominated by English athletes, especially the badminton squad.

Great Britain are hoping to be among the medals in the mixed doubles competition at the Beijing Games.

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