Beijing forced its team to apologize after two of its players were disqualified along with six others for intentionally trying to lose their badminton matches. China has said that it respects the decision to disqualify their players, though the 26-year-old athlete remains “heartlessly shattered” by the judgement.
“This is my last time competing. Goodbye Badminton World Federation; goodbye beloved badminton,” said Yu on her weibo account, a Chinese site similar to Twitter.
Yu holds a gold medal in badminton from the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Yu and teammate Wang Xiaoli were booed by crowds, who paid as much as £80 for their seats, as the Olympians appeared to intentionally miss shots and hit the birdie into the net at their Tuesday match against South Korea. Their opponents realized what was happening and followed suit, resulting in an abysmal match from both sides.
The problem is blamed on a rule change that introduced a round-robin style of advancement instead of knockouts. When the Chinese lost to the Danish team earlier in the week, they were no longer ideally positioned to play the other Chinese athletes in the final, which would secure the country the gold and silver medals, unless they threw the match against South Korea.
Throwing the matches also provides an advantage because losing teams are not placed against high-seed teams, giving them a better chance to make it to the finals.
“The key point is we did not behave professionally as athletes and did not treat each match seriously,” said Li Yongbo, chief coach of the Chinese badminton team, to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency. “We didn’t strive with all our might in the Olympic way … As chief coach I really feel I must say sorry to fans and viewers nationwide.”
The Chinese team was disqualified Wednesday and chared by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), along with two South Korean pairs and an Indonesian team for the same reasons.
Thomas Lund, chief executive of BWF said in an apology: “We are very, very sorry that this has happened, both for the players and for the sport.”