Coach under fire for Lin Dan absence

Updated: 2011-10-13 17:10


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Coach under fire for Lin Dan absence

The combination of file photos shows Li Yongbo (L), head coach of China's badminton team, and China's badminton super star Lin Dan. [Photo/Xinhua]

Li Yongbo, head coach of China's badminton team has come under fire over the reasons behind top player Lin Dan's consecutive "strategic" withdrawals from a series of pre-Olympics tournaments this year.

The coming China Open badminton tournament kicks off in late November and all the top ten players are supposed to appear. But Lin will be absent once again, following four previous "injury exits" that benefiting his teammates.

"If it was due to 'strategic' consideration, I am responsible for that. But the truth is I am irrelative to it (Lin's withdraws)", Li said after being accused of "internal coordination" to make way for lower-ranked Chen Jin.

According to the Olympics quota rules, the top-ranked four singles players qualify automatically with three at maximum from each country or federation. The BWF ranking updated on October 6 shows China has two with the top four (Lin Dan ranked 2 and Zhan Long 3). Chen is ranked sixth.

China is a steady winner on world courts and badminton is dubbed one of the nation's top sports together with table tennis. It had a full quota of three men's singles players at the home court in the 2008 Olympics with Lin Dan and Chen Jin finishing gold and bronze.

Li complained about the tournament organization in the Singapore series where Lin had diarrhea and draws which consecutively pitted Chinese players. "As teammates, they know one another so well so it is tough to win. As a result, injury is common."