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Olympic badminton scandal claims China's rising star

By Alexis Lai, CNN
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Thu August 2, 2012
  • Career of one of China's most promising badminton players ended amid Olympic scandal
  • Yu Yang announced she was quitting sport after Badminton World Federation disqualified her and seven others
  • Yu and her partner were ranked number one in world according to Badminton World Federation
  • Yu said federation "mercilessly shattered our dreams"

(CNN) -- The scandal engulfing four Olympic badminton teams has appeared to have abruptly ended the career of one of China's most promising players.

Yu Yang announced Wednesday she was quitting the sport after the Badminton World Federation disqualified her and her doubles partner, along with three other teams, for "not using one's best efforts to win a match."

"This is my last match," Yu Yang wrote in a microblog to her 1.3 million followers. "Farewell Badminton World Federation; farewell my beloved badminton."

Yu and her partner Wang Xiaoli were ranked number one in the world according to the Badminton World Federation.

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Together, they had dominated national and international competitions, including the 2011 women's doubles World Championship.

Before that, Yu won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and World Championship 2010 title with her former doubles partner, Du Jing. She partnered with Wang after Du was sidelined by injury.

A native of Liaoning Province, Yu began playing badminton at the age of 10, according to Chinese media. She graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2006.

In a passionate post on her weibo account, Yu explained why she and Wang had held back while playing South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na at London's Wembley Arena.

"We were injured before the match," Yu wrote. "And we were just using the rules to give up the match in order to play better in the next knock-out round. This is the first time that group round-robin elimination was adopted in the Olympics. Do you understand the pain athletes suffer?"

She said the federation's decision to disqualify them had "mercilessly shattered our dreams."

Yu, Wang and six other players were disqualified from the Olympics for throwing matches to try to influence who their opponents would be in the next round.

The federation found that they conducted themselves "in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."

Yu's resignation was at odds with the contrite line taken by the Chinese Olympic Committee, which said in a statement carried by state-run Xinhua that it "fully respects the Badminton World Federation's decisions."

"The behavior of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli violated the principles of the Olympic Movement and went against the spirit of fair play. It hurt our hearts. The Chinese Olympic Committee has always been firmly against any conduct that is against sportsmanship."

The committee went on to say that it had "launched an internal investigation" and "would take further action pending the results of the probe."

China emerged as a force to be reckoned with on the badminton field in the 1970s.

It holds the highest number of Olympic medals for the sport, including 11 of 24 gold medals awarded since badminton debuted at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

China also holds eight Thomas Cups,11 Uber Cups, and seven Sudirman Cups, the leading international competitions for men, women, and mixed teams, respectively, under the Badminton World Federation. Female player Gao Ling holds four Olympic medals, including two golds-- the highest number of Olympic medals for the sport.

CNN's Zhang Dayu contributed to this report.

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