Ace shuttler Ashwini Ponappa is still in disbelief over her early exit from the Olympics and criticised the new round-robin format which according to her encouraged “match-fixing” at the London Games.
Despite winning two out of their three matches in Group B, Ponappa and her partner Jwala Gutta failed to progress to the quarterfinals amid allegations of match-throwing by other teams.
“The round-robin format was ridiculous. It brought about a very bad side of the game. The format encouraged match-throwing. I hope the format changes (in the next Olympics),” Ponappa said.
“Because of the format it was predecided who will play whom (in the knock-out stage). Japan was the top side in our group. Everyone expected them to win against Chinese Taipei.
But going into their last match, Japan knew they had to lose against Chinese Taipei to avoid China.
“It made things easier for Chinse Taipei who needed a win against Japan. And that’s what happened... Japan played China only in the final,” she claimed.
The 22-year-old shuttler from Bangalore said that they were heart-broken after coming to terms with the fact that the new format robbed the duo a place in the knock-out stage, which according to her was the saddest moment of her short career.
“We went to the court to win the first match against Japan. We gave our best. In the second and thind matches we got better. We gave everything we had, but unfortunately we couldn’t qualify,” Ponappa said during the unveiling of a survey report -- “TenVicks Report: Measuring India’s Cheer Quotient“.
The badminton competition in the London Games has been marred by match-fixing scandals after four women’s doubles pairs were disqualified from the Games for deliberately losing their matches in order to play relatively easier opponent in the knock-out rounds.
The pairs disqualified from the Games include China’s women’s doubles world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, South Korean pairs Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari.
India’s coach Pullella Gopichand had lodged a complaint to the BWF against the Japanese pair but it was turned down by the world body.
“It was very good decision by the BWF to expel the guilty players. Such strict actions will deter players from tanking their matches in future,” Ponappa said.
Asked about her future plan, Ponappa said: “For sure I will be taking a short break now before returning to the courts again.”