HONG KONG – Badminton and controversy are not exactly strangers but a row involving the air conditioning at the world men's singles final is causing a headache the sport could do without.
The Guangzhou showdown between home favourite Lin Dan, the four-time champion, and Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, his main rival and the world number one, had the makings of a classic.
But Lin's win was overshadowed by the failure of the air conditioning mid-match, fuelling conspiracy theories and possibly contributing to Lee's withdrawal on a stretcher with cramp as he faced match point.
"It was so hot inside and Chong Wei was dehydrated. This led to him suffering cramps," Lee's coach Tey Seu Bock told Malaysian newspaper The Star.
"This is not right. The players were suffering. At one point, Chong Wei was struggling to breathe," he added.