Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang are accused of purposely trying to lose in a match against South Korea so they didn’t have to face the other top-ranked Chinese team until the final round.
Despite being humiliatingly disqualified from the 2012 Olympic Games for playing to lose, Chinese badminton duo Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli have been honoured by China’s sports governing body.
The SCMP reports that Yu and Wang were among 100 sports personalities named on a list published by the Chinese General Administration of Sports on January 4, the pair will receive a “sports honour medal”. Their coach, Li Yongbo, will also be honoured.
Sports honour medals are given to all Chinese world champions – winners of the Olympics, World Championships, or World Cups – and their coaches. Yu and Wang helped the Chinese team win the Uber Cup in May 2012, so were eligible for the award despite their disqualification from the Olympics.
After her disqualification, in a fit of pique, Yu Yang publicly retired from badminton, stating that she and her teammate were not playing to lose but were conserving their strength and that Olympics officials had “ruthlessly shattered our dreams”. In a public apology on national TV, Yu had previously said the pair “did not comply with the Olympic spirit. We did not deliver a match with our true level to the audience, the fans and friends.”
Video of the match in question, Yu’s embarrassingly and deliberately bad play, and the furious crowd reaction: