Chinese officials have told their Olympic badminton team leader and disgraced players to make a public apology following the deliberate throwing of matches at the London Games, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
The women’s doubles players disqualified from the Games on Wednesday were top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli of China, South Korean pairs Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, plus Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia.
“The delegation has already severely criticised and educated the responsible badminton leaders, team and relevant players and demanded they profoundly recognise the seriousness and the harmfulness of this matter, reflect deeply on it, publicly apologise and resolutely prevent such incidents from happening again,” Xinhua quoted an unnamed spokesman as saying.
Li Yongbo, chief coach of the Chinese badminton team, said the poor behaviour of his players reflected the shortcomings of new rules in the sport.
“I feel that no matter whether it is the rules or something else, that’s no excuse,” said Li. “The key point is we did not behave professionally as athletes and did not treat each match seriously.
“We didn’t strive with all our might in the Olympic way. From that point of view we really didn’t grasp this point thoroughly … as chief coach I really feel I must say sorry to fans and viewers nationwide,” Li told Xinhua.
The eight players were thrown out of the Games for throwing matches in a bid to secure more favourable draws later in the tournament.