A minor controversy

There was a minor controversy during the World badminton championships in Birmingham, involving the Chinese girls. In the women's doubles quarterfinals which was an all China affair, it was alleged Wei Yang and Jiewen Zhang threw away the second game to the top seeds Ling Gao and Sui Huang without a fight. The Chinese pair gave a tough fight in the opening game (11-15) to the top seeds and was expected to take the second game as well. But it turned out to be a damp squib as Wei Yang and Jiewen Zhang surrendered meekly in the second (3-15) raising a few eyebrows. When the matter was brought to the attention of the referee, he promised to look into the matter and take appropriate action after viewing the match in full on video.

Now that the event has concluded, nothing much is likely to happen. In fact, this is not the first time that such a thing has happened where two Chinese players/pairs are involved. It is generally believed in badminton circles that on a number of occasions the authorities concerned decide the winner of a match between two Chinese players in advance. But it is difficult to prove for sure whether an encounter is tanked or not. It is also possible that since they know each other's game so well, it looks like the result is preplanned. But in reality it may not be so. However, no such allegations are made when players from any other country play against each other. Generally, the problem crops up only when China is involved. One can only hope that such allegations are not true in the best interest of the game.

Another bizarre incident happened in the women's doubles. One of the Russian pairs Marina Yakusheva and Elena Schimko were disqualified from the tournament for not wearing the same colour `T'shirt. As per International Badminton Federation (IBF) rules, both partners in a doubles event must wear the same colour `T' shirt. In addition, it is also mandatory for the players to have their names printed on the back of the shirt. As the Russian girls were unaware of the rules, they came on the court wearing `T' shirts of different colours and were promptly disqualified. It was indeed unfortunate that the pair had to bow out of the tournament in such a way. There is a very strong case here for the IBF to have a rethink on the issue as I feel the punishment is too harsh. They can always look at other ways of penalising a player including a fine, if need be, but not disqualification. I hope the IBF will look into the matter soon.