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Malaysia accuse China of fixing
Coach says China tailored results for clean sweep at All England badminton finals.
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2009 10:11 GMT

Lee was beaten in the final [AFP]
China and Malaysia are engulfed in a badminton row after the Malaysia coach accused China of fixing matches on their way to a first clean sweep at the All England championship.

Rashid Sidek claimed the powerful Chinese team had arranged for defending champion Chen Jin to retire injured from his semi-final in Birmingham on Saturday, giving compatriot and Olympic champion Lin Dan an easy path to a winning final against Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei.

Rashid said China had used the tactic before in qualifying events for last year's Beijing Olympics, where the home country won three of the five gold medals.

Hot topic

"Everyone in the world of badminton is talking about it," he said in the Malaysian Star newspaper on Monday.

"They (China) know our reaction but they just do not care.
 
"They do not see that their actions are bringing a bad reputation to the sport. Yes, this is affecting the sport as a whole.

"We do not condone such tactics.

"For us, we want the best players on the day to win."

China enjoyed their first clean sweep of titles with Lin capturing his fourth crown in the men's singles on Sunday after beating Malaysia's Lee 21-19 21-12.

Although they had won four of the titles on four occasions, the clean sweep at the blue chip All England championship made China only the second team to achieve the feat in 110 years of history, after Denmark in 1948.

"We have great team spirit and all the players wanted it to happen," said delighted head coach Li Yongbo.

"I think they put in far more than anyone else."

Ducking dismay

After a busy 2008 which saw them clinch three out of five titles at the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese ducked the $500,000 Super Series in December citing injury worries, much to the dismay of the governing World Badminton Federation (BWF).

Wang is a hot new talent [AFP]
The break appeared to have rejuvenated the team on Sunday, as the men's doubles pairing of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng completed the sweep of all five events.

China also won all five titles at the 1987 world championships, but that was on home courts in Beijing.

The mixed doubles duo of He Hanbin and Yu Yang set the ball rolling early on, followed by victories for Olympic champion Lin and unseeded Wang Yihan in the singles.

Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting duly saluted in the women's doubles.

Remarkably, none of the winners was a top seed, and in Wang, the Chinese appear to have unearthed another exciting talent.

Tine to go

The 21-year-old outlasted Danish top seed and seasoned world number one Tine Rasmussen, saying she felt the fitter and stronger player in the deciding third game.

The match fixing claims are unlikely to be much comfort to men's world number one Lee, whose defeat by Lin was the Malaysian’s ninth in their last 10 meetings.

Such accusations are not new and nor are China's denials, though
coach Li once admitted fixing the women's singles semi-final at the Athens Games to let through a player thought to have a better chance against a non-Chinese in the final.

The latest allegation has prompted the Badminton Association of Malaysia to call for an investigation, and demand it be addressed at the BWF's executive council meeting in May.

Source:
Agencies
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