New Delhi: Chinese officials use unfair tactics to grab Olympic berths for their players and favour them in tournaments held in their home country, top international badminton players, including India's Saina Nehwal, have claimed.
Nehwal, Denmark's Peter Gade and Malaysia's Taufik Hidayat said officials favour local players while playing in China and sometimes these things become too much to swallow.
World number five Saina, who lost to little-known Chinese girl Xiao Jia Chen in the second round of the Asian Badminton Championship last week, said she had been a victim of their unfair tactics.
"Actually, I don't really care when I play in China. When you play in China, sometimes the line calls, umpires, could affect you. It has been happening for so many years. So we (international players) know what to expect there," said Saina, who is taking part in the Sunrise India Open this week. "I am not complaining but in China sometimes, it's a bit too much. It is not only about line calls. They favour some players and their players feel confident because they have got all the backing."
Another Indian ace Jwala Gutta, who is aiming to become the first Indian to qualify for two badminton events - the mixed doubles and women's doubles - in the Olympics, said such tactics are not good for the game. "It's not good for the game, but they are the Chinese and we can't do anything about it. They are the dominant power and they are doing it openly and will do things their way. They make it very clear that they want gold, silver, bronze. Sports is top priority in their country and it is there strategy," she said.
Gade drew attention to a recent incident in the Asian Badminton Championship in which four-time world champion Lin Dan gave a walkover to Chen Jin in the semi-finals due to "injury" so that his Chinese compatriot could enhance his chance of securing a berth in Olympics.
Asked about such Chinese tactics, Gade said it has been going on for many years now. "We know it and it has been there for many years. I won't interfere with that, it is a BWF problem. We have been talking so much about [it], but it is not something knew. The Chinese have pretty much secured Chen Jin now. I needed to be at my best. If I didn't have injuries, I could have pushed him away. But he has been playing very well, as expected," he said. "It is not surprising. I have been talking about it for 10 years. I can't do anything about it so I chose to beat them on court."
Former world and Olympic Champion Taufik Hidayat also endorsed Gade's thoughts and said it was a well-known fact that China used unfair tactics to get their players win. "We all knew [about] that Chen Jin will win. That is the way China is. It's all about China for them," said Taufik on the sidelines of the India Open.