Shocks on and off court at world badminton championships (pic)


 By Dave Thompson

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Shocks on court and a big rift at the top of the sport's governing body marked the world badminton championships which ended on Sunday with three golds for China and two for Indonesia.


China’s Lin Dan returns a shot against his compatriot Bao Chunlai during their men’s singles semi-final match at the World Badminton Championships in Kuala Lumpur August 18, 2007.

Lin Dan's retention of the men's singles crown he won in Madrid a year ago proved a stable point on the compass and there were also victories for China with Zhu Lin in the women's singles and Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen in the women's doubles.

Indonesia hit back with golds in men's doubles for Markis Kido and Hendra Settiawan and in the mixed for Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir.

But behind the scenes Badminton World Federation (BWF) chiefs were engaged in a damage-limitation exercise after a 14-5 vote of no confidence in the ruling body's South Korean president Kang Young-joong at a council meeting on Saturday.

Kang later asserted that deputy president Punch Gunalan of Malaysia had usurped the president's position and that of the chief operating officer who was dismissed last month.

He also maintained the BWF had spiralled downwards through a "dictatorship by democracy" and that a such a serious rift in the sport's governing body could even jeopardise its Olympic status after 2012.

Kang's claims were rejected 24 hours later with BWF Asia chairman VK Verma insisting too much had been made of the no confidence vote and the problem lay with the Korean's style of decision making. "He has to respect the majority," said Verma.

Meanwhile, Kang will remain president until he indicates his absence will be permanent. If he chooses to return, an EGM would be necessary to remove him.

Back on court, Lin was achieving what no men's singles player has done before — retaining a world title — with an impressive 21-11 22-20 success over Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro.

Lin is already eyeing qualification points for next year's Olympics in Beijing where he will seek to erase the memory of a his shock first-round exit in Athens in 2004.

Big names to fall by the wayside in Kuala Lumpur included Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, China's top two women singles players Zhang Ning and Xie Xingfang and Malaysia's men's singles hope Lee Chong Wei.

Lee's departure underlined another blank championships for the hosts who have never won a world title in the tournament which dates back to 1977.

There was disappointment too for England who came away from Madrid a year ago with a gold and two silvers. None of their squad got past the quarter-finals.

China's golden haul was one less than a year ago and for once veteran doubles player Gao Ling had to settle for silver in the both the women's and mixed events.

Indonesia's two golds and the silver from Sony may help compensate for the early exit of Taufik. 


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