Badminton coach Li's month just got a whole lot better
Updated: 2012-08-06 08:09:06
By Chen Xiangfeng in London ( China Daily)
The only thing that could have saved Li Yongbo was gold medals.
His players delivered.
Li, the Chinese badminton coach who has been attacked the past few days for his game-throwing tactics in the women's doubles group match, was more thrilled than anyone after China scored an unprecedented clean sweep of all five golds on offer in London.
"I'm proud of them. They came out to play the final under huge pressure," said Li. "They did it."
Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese badminton team, demonstrates all five gold medals after China finished the badminton game with a clean sweep at the London Olympic Games, on Aug 5, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]
World No 1 pair Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were among eight players disqualified for trying to lose games in an attempt to secure a better draw for the knockout stage of the women's doubles.
The burden of winning gold was passed on to Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing.
They beat the distractions - and their Japanese opponents - to win 2-0, giving China its fifth consecutive Olympic title in the event.
A tearful Zhao, who won the mixed doubles gold a day before, admitted she had been carrying a heavy load.
"The pressure was much bigger than playing in the mixed doubles," said Zhao, whose pair was not favored to win the women's doubles after losing to a Danish team in a group match. "I was scared to lose this gold. I was totally relieved after the victory."
Li, who made a public apology after the scandal, gave credit to Zhao.
"It wasn't easy for her to play the last two days," he said. "Especially the doubles gold - it was one of our target before the Games. After the No 1 pair's disqualification, I know all the global attention was on this match. I'm so glad we were able to make it."
Another piece of good news for Li was the women's singles title, was won by teenager Li Xuerui.
Li Xuerui beat compatriot and world No 1 Wang Yihan in her Olympic debut.
She said she felt it was unfair to punish Yu and Wang but said the gold shows China is still the best even after losing its top players.
"It's too cruel to them," she said. "It's not easy to prepare for an Olympics. The doubles (medals) should be shared by them."