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Chinese badminton star ordered to kick off half of Sydney 2000 Olympics

Copenhagen (AFP) – China’s former badminton champion Yi Chaoying said she needed to kick off her semi-final match at the 2000 Sydney Olympics to boost the chances of one of her compatriots winning a gold medal, in a broadcast interview Saturday on Danish TV2.

22 years later, the former world No. the Danish champion. Camille Martin.

Ye said on TV2, “They asked me to do this. They told me not to look like I was losing on purpose. But at the same time, they wanted me not to tire Gong Zhizhao too much. »

“They wanted me to lose in straight sets, not three, so as not to tire too much.

“You can go watch (the game) again. I would intentionally put points out of bounds, things like that, or make sure (badminton) doesn’t go over the net. I had no other choice. »

However, Yi refrained from naming individual coaches or management personnel who she believed had asked her to lose the game.

“We feel so helpless because we are alone against the system,” she said.

“The Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an athlete, so it’s really sad. But as an individual, I couldn’t argue with the system. »

Gong duly defeated Martin in the final and won the gold medal.

In a press release, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said it “cannot comment on the specific details related to this historic incident”, but that these measures are in place to combat corruption.

“Charges of this nature are something we take very seriously,” BWF President Thomas Lund said in the statement.

“Match-fixing of any kind is not tolerated. We are committed to protecting the integrity of sport by having very strong measures in place to monitor and investigate match-fixing. »

Lund said the federation must remain “vigilant” in its attempt to keep the sport clean, while encouraging individuals to apply through the federation’s “whistleblower” system.

The Chinese player was interviewed in Malaga, Spain, where Ye lives in exile with her husband, former Chinese soccer star Hao Haidong.

The couple made it clear to TV2 that they had almost no hope of returning to China since Howe’s harsh criticism in June 2020 of Chinese authorities.

In response to their stance, the two athletes were banned from the Chinese internet, having been removed from Chinese search engine Baidu and Chinese social networks such as Weibo and WeChat.

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