Badminton is known for a quiet sport, with players being in the news for tournament results. Unlike football, cricket, and tennis, badminton has few controversies. With world-class players on the circuit, however, controversies are bound to arise. Here are five badminton controversies that shocked the badminton community and fans.
Doping and Lee Chong Wei
Lee Chong Wei, one of the most composed players on and off the court, tested positive for the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone during the 2014 World Championships, where he finished second. A three-member panel was appointed to investigate the case, and he might have faced a two-year suspension that would have severely harmed his career. However, the panel decided in April 2015 that dexamethasone was not a performance-enhancing drug and that Lee had acted negligently with no intent to cheat. He was sentenced to an eight-month suspension. Lee Chong Wei’s world ranking plummeted to 180 as a result of his absence.
On-court brawl by Super Dan
Lin Dan, a two-time Olympic champion with a short fuse, caused a stir in the 2008 Korea Open final when he attempted to physically assault South Korean coach Li Mao. After a questionable line call, Lin Dan lost 4-21,23-21,25-23 in the final to Lee Hyun-il. When he went to complain to the chair umpire, he overheard Li Mao say something Lin didn’t like. Lin Dan’s coach and Li screamed as a result of this. For his antics, Lin Dan received a yellow card. Lin finally snapped and swung his racket at Li. Lin Dan refused to apologise after both parties accused each other of behaving inappropriately.
Kento Momota has been disqualified from competing in the Olympics
For gambling, Kento Momota was barred from competing in the Rio Olympics. At the time of his suspension, the 21-year-old was ranked second in the world. Gambling is prohibited in Japan. He was not banned by the IOC or the BWF, but rather by his own government. He lost 500,000 yen over the course of six visits to the casino alongside his teammate, Kenichi Tago, who lost an estimated 10 million yen over the course of more than 60 visits to other casinos across the country. His Badminton World Federation (BWF) rating had dropped below 250 after his comeback to the circuit, and he was unable to enter any of the top Superseries tournaments.
At the Olympics, loosening up
Eight female badminton players were excluded from the 2012 Olympics after they were caught match-fixing and attempting to lose their match in order to get easy quarter-final draws. One pair from China, two from South Korea, and one from Indonesia lost on deliberately in order to play against easy opponents in the knockout round. They were all already in the quarterfinals. To gift points to their opponents, the players served towards the net and smacked the shuttle wide.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) decided to disqualify the player after the completion of the day’s play for “not providing their utmost to win a match.” As a result, Yu Yang, a Chinese player, announced her retirement at the age of 26.
Air-Issues at the World Championships
Lin Dan made a comeback in 2013 by defeating Lee Chong Wei at the World Championships. Lee was forced to retire at the crucial finish of the finals owing to leg cramps. Lin Dan’s coach later blamed Lee’s early retirement on the air conditioner. He claimed that the air conditioners were switched off during the second game, but the organisers ruled out foul play, claiming that the air conditions were disturbed due to an increase in spectators. The tournament got off to a rocky start, with many players doubting Lin Dan’s ‘wildcard’ participation after an eight-month hiatus.