Former Chinese women’s singles player Zhou Mi has thrown allegations against former head coach Li Yongbo saying that she was asked to throw the semi-final match of the 2004 Olympic Games by the controversial coach.
Zhou Mi said that Li Yongbo instructed her to deliberately lose the match to teammate Zhang Ning before the semifinals of the 2004 Athens Olympics, reports Sohu. Zhang Ning went on to win the gold medal after beating Mia Audina in the final.
“The coach gave me instructions, ‘we must put the honour of the country first’. I have never considered personal interests too much. Of course, I felt very wronged in my heart,” she said.
She feels that the coach gave her the instructions because she was 4 years younger than Zhang Ning.
The result of the 2003 All England final was also decided before the match, she was asked to throw the final against another teammate there, she continued.
Not only this, when she left the national team in 2006 it was also under Li Yongbo’s interference, she revealed.
Zhou Mi said, “It was actually the coach who asked me to retire. I followed the coach’s instructions, and I retired. Actually I didn’t choose to retire.”
Though Li Yongbo remains one of the most successful coaches, his career as a coach has been marred with many controversies.
“In the whole squad, sometimes someone needs to be the bad guy. And of course, I play the role ”- Li Yongbo
2012 London Olympics
During the 2012 London Olympics, Chinese women’s doubles players Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang were disqualified from the tournament for throwing matches.
Wang and Yu deliberately tried to lose to their Korean opponents in the group stage so that they could avoid meeting their teammates in the knockout stage.
Li Yongbo said, “As the head coach, I owe an apology to the Chinese badminton supporters and the Chinese TV viewers. The Chinese players have failed to demonstrate the good traditions and fighting spirit of the national team. I’m the one to blame. “
2000 Sydney Olympics
Another women’s singles player Ye Zhaoying has also alleged Li Yongbo that her loss to fellow teammate Gong Zhichao in the semifinals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics was orchestrated by him. The reason was that her compatriot had a better head to head record against the other finalist Camilla Martin.