Chinese badminton player blogs ‘farewell’ to sport

Updated 02 August 2012
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Chinese badminton player blogs ‘farewell’ to sport

LONDON: Defending Olympic champion Yu Yang of China has apparently quit badminton after she was one of eight players disqualified from women’s doubles for trying to lose at the London Games.
A comment on a verified account for Yu on the Tencent microblogging service late Wednesday read: “This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton.”
Yu’s retirement could not be immediately confirmed with Chinese badminton officials. In China, the lives of top athletes are closely controlled by sports officials, including decisions on retirement.
Yu and Wang Xiaoli, the world champions and Olympic gold-medal favorities, were one of four doubles teams which played poorly on purpose to secure a more favorable position in the quarterfinals lineup.
Along with two teams from South Korea and another from Indonesia, it appeared to be the first mass disqualification in Olympic history.
None of the players were made available for interviews.
Yu went on state television in China on Wednesday to apologize “to all the badminton fans and friends over yesterday’s game, because we did not comply with the Olympic spirit, and did not deliver a match with our true level to the audience, the fans and the friends.”
In a statement released to Xinhua, the Chinese Olympic delegation criticized its players’ actions.
“The behavior by Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli on court violated the Olympics ideal and the spirit of fair play. The Chinese delegation feels distressed over this matter,” the delegation said.
Xinhua also reported Chinese badminton coach Li Yongbo apologized and accepted blame for the scandal.
“As the head coach, I owe the fans and the Chinese an apology,” Li said. “Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit of the national team. It’s me to blame.”
Yu won the Olympic women’s doubles in Beijing with Du Jing, and a bronze medal in mixed doubles.
After teaming with Wang Xiaoli in late 2010, their aggressiveness revolutionized women’s doubles. Since becoming a pair, they had lost only four times, and once because of injury, and an Olympic gold medal was expected to confirm them as the greatest women’s pair in history.
Last year Yu and Wang were named world women players of the year after sweeping the world and Asian championships and every Super Series title, including the final.


’Mohamed Salah is up there with the world’s best,’ says Liverpool skipper

Updated 4 min 35 sec ago
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’Mohamed Salah is up there with the world’s best,’ says Liverpool skipper

  • Egyptian has scored 41 in 46 appearances
  • Jordan Henderson feels top clubs will be looking to sign Salah

LIVERPOOL: Jordan Henderson is confident Mohamed Salah will not be lured away from Anfield in the same manner the Egyptian was tempted from Roma last year.
Salah has surpassed all expectations since his then-club record €42 million ($52 million) move back to the Premier League last June and will face his old club in the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal on Tuesday.
An incredible return of 41 goals in 46 appearances saw Salah crowned the Premier League Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday.
However, unlike Liverpool stars of recent seasons such as Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who were attracted by the glamor of a move to Barcelona, Henderson hopes Salah is convinced to stay by the growing momentum at Liverpool and the belief they can compete for major trophies under Jurgen Klopp.
“He’s a fantastic player, obviously he’s up there with the world’s best and there will be other clubs that want to take him away,” said Henderson.
“But he’s in a great place with a great set of lads, great team, with a great manager, going in the right direction. We want to create our own history here and I’m sure Mo will want to be part of that for many years to come.”
Roma co-owner James Pallotta recognized this week that Liverpool didn’t even have to beat off much competition to Salah’s signature, as he had only shown inconsistent flashes of his full potential in two years in the Italian capital.
Klopp is credited with finding the system to bring the best out of Salah.
And having led Liverpool back to the last four of the Champions League for the first time in a decade, Henderson said his team-mates feel “privileged” to work with the German.
“He’s one of the best managers in the world. First and foremost tactically it goes without question how knowledgeable he is within the game, you can see that in the performances, the style of play and how we play football,” he added.
“Off the field he’s a fantastic human. Very genuine, has a great passion for football and that transcends throughout the team.
“He always keeps you on your toes, always looking for more, he never wants the standards to drop no matter who we are playing. He’s an amazing manager and everybody in the squad feels privileged to be working with him.”
Roma have had to wait even longer for a European Cup semifinal with their last appearance coming 34 years ago when they beat Dundee United but went on to lose to Liverpool in the final.
The manner in which they reached the semifinals even outshone Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of Premier League champions Manchester City as Roma came back from a 4-1 first leg deficit against Barcelona thanks to a 3-0 second leg victory masterminded by Roma’s own impressive coach in Eusebio Di Francesco.
But apart from their physical similarities, Di Francesco — who is making his debut as a coach in the Champions League this season — believes he has a long way to go to earn comparisons with Klopp.
“As Klopp mentioned there are similarities in that we both wear glasses and have a beard,” he joked. “But I very much like his outlook.
“I am concerned we play a team coached by such a great manager. Klopp has proved himself, has won already titles, but I have great ambitions.”