PETALING JAYA: Match-fixing may be taboo to many but not to China, or so it seems.
Their shuttlers’ tendency to ‘retire’ prematurely during matches against each others has been getting on the nerves of many in the world of badminton, including Malaysian singles chief coach Rashid Sidek, who yesterday claimed that China were getting away with it.
On Saturday, All-England defending champion Chen Jin complained of back pain and retired while trailing 12-21, 6-11 in an all-China semi-final against Olympic champion Lin Dan.
Just a day earlier, the 23-year-old Chen Jin hardly showed any signs of discomfort when he fought tooth-and-nail for 67 minutes to tame Japan’s Sho Sasaki 14-21, 21-13, 21-19.
And that’s why many felt that Chen Jin’s decision to retire against Lin Dan was just a ploy to allow the latter to conserve energy for his final against Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei.
This is not the first time this has happened.
Last year, Lin Dan was alleged to have thrown his match in the final of the All-England and the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in Johor Baru against Chen Jin so that the latter could strengthen his qualification for the Beijing Olympic Games.
The most controversial match-fixing scandal was when China’s former top women’s singles shuttler Zhou Mi was asked to let compatriot Zhang Ning win the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Rashid said that China were in a world of their own as far as badminton was concerned.
“They do not see that their actions are bringing a bad reputation to the sport. Yes, this (alleged match-fixing) is affecting the sport as a whole,” Rashid said in a telephone interview from Birmingham.
“Everyone in the world of badminton is talking about it. They (China) know our reaction but they just do not care.
“We (Malaysians) do not condone such tactics. For us, we want the best players on the day to win.”
It is high time that the Badminton World Federation (BWF), who will be holding their executive council meeting during the Sudirman Cup in Guangzhou in May, tackle this issue or they may face the possibility of badminton being dropped as an Olympic sport in the future.