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Badminton coach denies Olympic fix
The head coach of China's national badminton team claims he gave no orders to throw the group women's double match at the London Olympics.
"Of course I did not draw up the tactics (of the deliberate loss). How could it possibly be me?" said Li Yongbo during an interview (click to watch) with China Central Television on Sunday.
Li Yongbo, head coach of China's national badminton team recieves an interview by China Central Televison that was aired on Sept 16. [Photo/cntv.cn]
The Chinese pair, Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, was among eight badminton players who were booted from the London Olympic Games for playing to lose their matches to secure more favorable positions in the knockout rounds.
Li, commenting on the notorious incident for the first time since its occurrence, said the rules are to blame, and he was shocked with the penalties.
"We were just taking advantage of the rules and were not thinking about other stuff too much. It was a bad show, but there has never been a standard...It was a hasty decision by the World Badminton Federation. They never punished any player who had similar behavior in the past decade."
Li, 50, has been the team's head coach for 19 years, during which period he has helped 73 world champions, but he has also been criticized as being an emphatic, if not rude, control freak.
"I would rather to be rude if it works on my players to push them forward. The gold medal is the only thing that matters."
Li Yongbo shows off five gold medals the Chinese badminton team have swept at the London Olympics on Aug 5. [Photo/Xinhua]