PETALING JAYA: Ye Zhaoying, one of China’s leading ladies in the 1990s, made a shocking revelation of how she was deliberately asked to lose to her compatriot Gong Zhichao in the semi-finals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
It was done by China officials, according to Zhaoying in an exclusive interview with TV 2SPORT (Denmark), so that Zhichao is able to overcome Camilla Martin of Denmark, in the final.
Zhichao went on to win gold, beating Martin while Zhaoying had a consolation bronze beating her compatriot Dai Yun in the playoff.
It was Martin, who is a badminton host with TV 2SPORT, who took the initiative recently to make the public controversy and had traveled to persuade Zhaoying for an interview in Malaga, Spain, where the Chinese star lives with her husband Hao Haidong in exile.
The interview was also published in the TV channel’s website sport.tv2.dk on Friday.
“You feel so powerless, because it’s just you against the whole system. The Olympic Games are almost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an athlete, and it feels so desperately tragic when you have to throw it all away.
But I’m just one person, and there was nothing I could do against the system,” Zhaoying told TV 2SPORT.
Zhaoying had explained that, among others, China’s former head coach Li Yongbo, and women’s singles head coach, Tang Xuehua, informed her of their decision a day before the semi-finals.
“They told me it was important that no one could see that I was losing deliberately. It was also important that I didn’t shoot Gong Zhichao, so I had to lose in two straight games.
“The match couldn’t go to three games because Zhichao would become too exhausted,” said Zhaoying. “No one knew whether Camilla would go on to the final, and they had to decide which of us was most likely to beat Camilla in the final. They decided that I had to lose to Gong Zhichao.”
Zhaoying, who retired after the 2000 Olympics, was the world champion in 1995 and 1997 and was part of the China team who were the dominant force in the Uber Cup.
Her husband Haidong was also a famous footballer in the 1990s and 2000s.