An ugly scene erupted on Tuesday during media day at the training camp of China's badminton team in Fujian province that saw world No 1 Lin Dan punch his coach, former Sydney Olympic champion Ji Xinpeng, a report from Daily Sunshine said.
The report said several media members from Beijing and the province witnessed the fight after an in-team competition between Lin Dan/Chen Yu and Bao Chunlai/Chen Jin.
Lin's side lost the match and Lin started complaining to Ji.
China's Lin Dan returns a shot from Denmark's Peter Gade during the men's singles semi-final of the Yonex Korea Open Badminton Super Series in Seoul in this January 26, 2008 file photo. [Agencies]
Ji did not respond to Lin's boiling temper, but the player continued shouting. Ji said in response: "Who the hell are you shouting at?"
The two then exchanged some heated words until suddenly Lin took a swing at the coach, but was immediately stopped when he tried a second attack.
Ji did not fight back after being hit.
No team members or coaches were available for comment after the fight.
But thousands of netizens left comments on the Internet, most of them decrying Lin's "intolerable behavior".
"The coaching team and chief officials have spoiled Lin. He should have been kicked out of the team earlier," said one comment. "China has lots of strong players on the men's team. If we send this kind of person to compete on the international stage, it's a shame for China's badminton."
Another said the sport's governing body should take responsibility.
"What they care about is whether Lin will win gold on the court rather than how to educate him to behave.
"It's not the first time Lin has had a public outburst. It's not acceptable to Chinese people even though he is the best men's player in the sport."
About three months ago, Lin was involved in another ugly and public clash with South Korea's Chinese head coach during the Korea Open Super Series final against Lee Hyun-il.
After a controversial line call, Lin complained to the umpire as he approached the chair of Korea's coach Li Mao.
As Li neared the coaches' seats he said some things that Lin Dan apparently did not like.
Lin tried to rush forward and appeared ready to beat Li, raising his racket above his head. But both were stopped by coaches and teammates before any blows were exchanged.
Lin refused to apologize for his behavior, claiming he responded after Li first verbally attacked the Chinese team with dirty words.
A chief official from the Table Tennis and Badminton Administrative Center said Lin will not be punished.
"We just verbally criticized him," TBAC director Liu Fengyan said about the incident. "Lin chose to fight back after being provoked. It's understandable."
There has been no word about any repercussions for Lin's most recent incident.