Chinese badminton players throw game to avoid faceoff with compatriots; netizens approve (updated)

August 1, 2012Jing Gao4 Comments, , , , , , , , , , ,

Update: The Badminton World Federation disqualified eight players (two from China, four from South Korea and two from Indonesia) on charges of match-fixing. China accepts the decision. South Korea and Indonesia both appealed before South Korea’s appeal was rejected and Indonesia withdrew its appeal.

(Sina News) In the last match between China and South Korea, both from badminton women’s doubles’ Group A on July 31,  the Chinese pair of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, currently the world’s No. 1 seeds, lost to their Korean opponent Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha Na 14: 21 and 11:21. Both sides performed poorly by either hitting the shuttlecock out of bounds or into the net, or even botching the service ridiculously badly. Boos from spectators were heard every now and then in the Wemberly Arena. Allegations that the Chinese players deliberately lost the game arise, as by losing the match, based on their current standing in the Group and the rules of the sport, they will not be pitted against another Chinese team all the way until the final.

In addition to the two Chinese players, four Korean, including the Chinese players’ opponents, and two Indonesian badminton players were also charged with manipulating the game in the same manner.


Chinese badminton doubles partners Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli. Photograph: Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images


The determination of the four to lose the game was so audacious that the referee had to warn the four players against match fixing.

Video of the game: 

Yu Yang explained in the interview after their loss that they did this because they wanted to save energy for the elimination match the next day.

The Badminton World Federation announced that there will be a disciplinary hearing on the morning of August 1 to decide if any sanctions will be passed.

More detailed information available at:

A poll conducted by Sina Weibo, China’s hugely popular microblogging service, shows that until press time, 73 per cent of the 14,621 people that responded voted that “It’s nothing wrong with adopting a flexible tactic” instead of “Throwing a game is against the Olympic spirit.”


(Note: In the following comments, “Tian Ji in a Horse Race,” a well-known historical story is brought up. Tian Ji, a military general of one small state during the early Warring States Period (4th century BC), was invited to participate in a horse-racing event hosted by the king. Tian followed the advice of a famous Chinese military strategist by using his inferior horse to race with the king’s best horse, his average horse to race with the king’s inferior horse, and his best horse to race with the king’s average horse, winning two out of three races.)

Selected comments of those who oppose Chinese players’ decision:

叶聪微勃:The majority voted for the Chinese team. I only want to ask those who support the Chinese team: if it is Japan or Korea who deliberately loses the match, and as the result, China is adversely affected by their so-called tactic, will you still think it is nothing wrong with throwing the match?

崔能辉:If this is true, it is really a disgrace on China. If you play the game above board, even if you return without a gold medal, we will still feel proud. But if you really do this, I will only feel ashamed.

晓天faver:It’s difference in the value systems. Foreigners stress fairness and justice, not only to themselves, but also others, including their opponents. Our countrymen attach more importance to the actual benefits and encourage making adaptations. But this is Olympic games we are talking about. Now that you have come, you should act in line with the Olympic spirit. So, please don’t do this type of sick thing, even though everyone in this nation has seen too much of it and got used to it.

柒水蓝:It’s a huge letdown to spectators.

苏苒-kk:Higher, Swifter, Stronger should be the main theme of the Olympic spirit. If everything is for the sake of the title and the gold medal, what’s the point of that? It totally runs afoul of the Olympic spirit.

糖果饼干cap:If this is true, it is really bad. If you want foreigners to respect you, you should first examine yourself in perspective.

林零_lily:So Team China is so unconfident? They cannot capture a gold unless both pairs enter the final to secure it?

雨线:A flexible tactic should be like Tian Ji’s horse racing. But it should involve cheating/deception.

古音沉香:They would use any means necessary for the gold medal. What a shame!

Selected comments of those who support Chinese players’ decision:

周生-Kane:Others can employ strategy. Why in our case it is called “running afoul of the Olympic spirit”? All the moral high grounds are occupied by others. How can Chinese people, if they are only capable of talking nonsense, be strong and wealth? Those ignorant people say it is all about fame and interests. But what kind of honor do you think this pair, being the No. 1 in the world, has never got? They want fame and interests?

记起小时候菜地边的小池塘:It is the rules of the game devised by the London Olympics Organizing Committee that forced players to play the game with so passive an attitude. This incident only demonstrates that it is the rules that made the eight athletes to adopt an abnormal approach. Even though it is against the Olympic spirit, the root cause is the “advanced” game rules.

洛小狼是奶茶控:We won, you talk about doping. We lose, you say we do it on purpose… Is there an end to this?

苏秦gsm:Throwing a game shows only one problem, that is, many rules in the sports arena are not reasonable. Why they impose restrictions on table tennis? On badminton? On diving and weightlifting? Why not impose any on swimming or track and field? Competitive sports is always all about dominance of the capable. So imposing a restriction on the number of athletes entering the game from one country is a manifestation of the Olympic spirit? Just because many master players come from the same country, they are not allowed to participate together?

昇邃的风景V:The damn Olympic spirit is nonsense. So all athletes that deliver a conservative performance in the preliminaries are against the spirit and are cheaters?

猪吧8:Stop labeling others with “an insult on the Olympic spirit” so easily! Does any athlete from any country have the courage to say that he enters the competition to give full play to the Olympic spirit and never to get a medal? What is wrong with combining skills with tactics? If you want to blame, blame the rules.

shmily_China:Foreigners are ill-educated, that’s fine. But I really cannot tolerate those Chinese who stoop to becoming slaves of foreigners stand there and act self-righteous. You’ve forgot about the history of Tian Ji’s horse-racing? 哼

粉色小猪的微博:So it is okay if other countries do this, but not okay when we do this? What is wrong with preserving our strength? They do that in swimming and track and field preliminaries all the time, don’t they?

Super雄:Tian Ji’s horse race is a manifestation of wisdom.

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4 comments to “Chinese badminton players throw game to avoid faceoff with compatriots; netizens approve (updated)”

  1. Boris | August 1, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    In terms of carying the Olympic spirit, it is quite lame. But in terms of strategy it makes sense so as long as their is no rule against it, probably most team would do it.

    Is there actually any rule against doing that? (if not, the Olympic Commitee should think of something to prevents this in the future …)

  2. Blacksoth | August 2, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    On the plus side, two canadians that were knocked out of the matches are now back in the competition due to the disqualifications and might actually get a medal. Now that’s karma.

  3. east2west | August 2, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    I think that the players are not the only ones to blame. Chinese athletes often let their coaches decide how to approach each game, so if their coaches say lose this game so you’ll have a better draw in the next round, they would just do it.

    Similarly, Chinese coaches are under great pressure from the provincial and central government sports authorities to win as many medals as they can for China. If that means letting one of their players lose to another deliberately in earlier rounds so that the team as a whole has a better chance in the later rounds against foreign players, then they would do it too.

    Check out this related story:

  4. Gary | August 3, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    After the referee pauses the game to say you will be kicked out if you do not play properly, anyone still goofing off deserves what happens no matter what you planned about losing for strategy.

    I bet if a Chinese crowd had paid 80 UK pounds to see the players stand around like dumbasses the players wouldn’t make it out of the stadium alive, strategy be damned.

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