Ban threat overshadows Taufik Hidayat defence


Madrid (ANTARA News) – Taufik Hidayat begins the defence of his world badminton title this week with the threat of a long ban hanging over his head.

In an incident unprecedented in top-class badminton, the turbulent Indonesian stormed off court in the Hong Kong Open quarter-finals last month just three minutes into the game.

The Olympic champion was upset about a changed line-call in a match against great rival Lin Dan and simply surrendered the contest to the Chinese who went on to win the title.

The pair fought out last year`s world championship final in Anaheim, California, with the Indonesian breezing home in straight sets.

International Badminton Federation (IBF) events committee chairman Paisan Rangsikitpho has said Hidayat`s Hong Kong walkout will be dealt with by IBF officials gathered in Madrid for the championships which start on Monday.

A ban of three to six months is thought possible, Reuters reported.

Hidayat`s vagaries and recent form mean that despite his world and Olympic titles he lurks at 31st in the world rankings and is unseeded in the defence of his world crown.

The Indonesian`s first round opponent is 13th-seeded Ng Wei of Hong Kong in a spicy-looking affair to highlight the second day`s play at Madrid`s Palacio de Deportes on Tuesday.

The top four men`s seeds, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, China`s Lin and compatriot Chen Jin and Denmark`s Peter Gade all have byes into the second round.

Women`s titleholder Xie Xingfang of China faces a first-round match with Estonia`s Kati Tolmoff but top-seeded compatriot and Olympic champion Zhang Ning has a bye.

In the mixed doubles, British Olympic silver medallists Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms have a chance to make up for disappointment in Anaheim last year when Robertson damaged ankle ligaments while practising on the eve of the tournament.

The pair were favourites for the gold but had to pull out.

(source: antara)


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