Men’s singles champion Lin Dan broke ranks with his Chinese badminton team on Wednesday, saying ‘throwing’ tactics employed by four women’s doubles pairs at the London Games to secure an easier draw were not in the Olympic spirit.
Lin, the men’s singles world number one and a national hero in China, also criticised the Badminton World Federation for instituting a system that was ripe for manipulation.
“I think it will definitely bring a negative impact, because all of these fans came to watch this tournament,” the 28-year-old told reporters at Wembley Arena.
“This situation really is not in the Olympic sporting spirit.”
Two of Lin’s team mates, world champion pair Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli are among eight players being investigated for misconduct after they played to lose their final group matches, prompting jeers of derision from the crowd.
A panel of Badminton World Federation officials were meeting on Wednesday to decide their fate.
Tournament officials instituted preliminary pool matches in the first round at the London Games after previously using knockout matches.
Women’s doubles players from China, South Korea and Indonesian teams all attempted to manipulate the format by deliberately losing their matches to ensure they would meet more favourable opponents.
China came out of Tuesday’s farce on top. Yu and Wang’s loss to a South Korean pair in the first of two tainted matches ensured they would not have to meet their strong Chinese team mates until the final, thereby ensuring the gold medal would go to one of the pairs should they advance that far.
China’s team have denied anything was amiss with the match, with the players involved and officials claiming they were only trying to conserve their strength for the knockout rounds.
“Why would the tournament rules people have (the format) like this?” Lin said.
“If they just had a knockout round it would all be fine. You lose and that’s it.”
The scandal completely overshadowed the morning session at the badminton, with four-time world champion Lin’s win over 2004 Athens gold medallist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia to secure a quarter-final berth rendered a sideshow.