Former World Champion Ye Zhaoying levels match manipulation claims in 2000 Sydney Olympics
Former World Champion Ye Zhaoying has claimed she was asked by the Chinese team management to lose her semi-final match at the 2000 Sydney Olympics on purpose.
Former Chinese superstar Ye Zhaoying has shocked the world badminton community by revealing that she was ordered to lose the 2000 Sydney Olympics semi-final by the Chinese management. The 48-year-old recently spoke to TV 2 sport, claiming that her semi-final loss in the 2000 Olympics came after being asked to manipulate the match against Gong Zhichao. Former World Champion, Zhaoying currently lives in Malaga, Spain with her husband Hao Haidong, who is also a former football star.
Meanwhile, revealing details about the incident after a period of 22 years, Zhaoying said the Chinese officials ordered her to lose the semi-final in order to fuel her fellow Chinese player Gong Zhichao’s pursuit of a gold medal. The team management had allegedly asked the former World No.1 to lose her match against Zhichao, so that the eventual gold medallist doesn’t get tired out ahead of the summit clash against Denmark’s Camilla Martin. “They told me it was important that no one could see that I was losing deliberately,” Zhaoying told TV 2 Sport.
They wanted me not to tire Gong Zhichao’: Ye Zhaoying
Explaining further details, she added, “They asked me to do this. They told me not to let it look like I was losing on purpose. But at the same time, they wanted me not to tire Gong Zhichao too much. They wanted me to lose in two sets, not in three sets, so that I wouldn’t tire her out too much. You can go and watch (the match) again. I would purposely put points out of bounds, stuff like that, or make sure (the shuttlecock) did not go over the net. I had no choice.”
However, the former World champion restricted herself from naming any coach or management staff regarding the match manipulation incident. “The Olympics is almost 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,” she added. While the allegation took the badminton world by storm, it also received a reaction from the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
BWF issues a statement on match manipulation allegations by Ye Zhaoying
“Accusations of this nature are something we consider very seriously,” BWF president Thomas Lund said in an official statement. BWF refrained from commenting on specific details related to the incident but mentioned that accurate measures were in place to tackle corruption in the sport. The BWF President went on to mention that the federation needs to remain vigilant to eradicate corruption from the sport.
Match manipulation of any kind is not tolerated in badminton. We are committed to protecting the integrity of the sport by putting in place very robust measures for monitoring and investigating acts of match manipulation,” the statement further read. Ye won her first World Championship gold medal in 1995, before defending her World Champion status two years later. She also claimed a bronze medal in the 1993 World Championships.