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Extra sensors land Taiwan player in a soup

One always thought that cheating in sports was restricted to doping and, in cricket's case, match-fixing. But in a bizarre case, a Chinese-Taipei taekwondo player, Yang Shu-Chun, was sent packing from the Games after she flouted rules by wearing extra sensors in her socks to earn more points.

other Updated: Nov 17, 2010 23:32 IST
Ajai Masand

One always thought that cheating in sports was restricted to doping and, in cricket's case, match-fixing. But in a bizarre case, a Chinese-Taipei taekwondo player, Yang Shu-Chun, was sent packing from the Games after she flouted rules by wearing extra sensors in her socks to earn more points.

Yang, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games semifinalist, strapped extra sensors on both heels against Vietnam's Vu Thi Hau in the 49kg quarterfinal at the Guangdong gymnasium.

According to the rules, contestants are allowed to wear authorised socks which have embedded sensors, but Yang wore an extra pair to earn more points. Sources said the sensors injured the Vietnamese around the neck region.

The incident came as a shock to the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) secretary-general, Yang Jin-Suk, who was quoted as saying on the Games News Service website that it was strange that a good exponent could do such a thing.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) secretary-general, Randhir Singh, told Hindustan Times, "Any manipulation or obstruction in the conduct of the Games would lead to automatic suspension. In Yang's case, she will be suspended and the official(s) who were party to it will be taken to task.

"If they want to lodge a protest, it has to come through a proper channel, as the OCA charter says it has to be routed through the respective national Olympic committee (NOC). Being the secretary-general of the India Olympic Association (IOA) as well, I have warned the entire Indian contingent to be on its guard, adding that no one would be spared.

"In the wake of the incident, I have sent letters to all the participating NOCs to refrain from indulging in such activities," said Randhir.

Under the new electronic scoring system, wearing an extra pair of sensors could help the wearer earn points easily. Randhir said the player and her coach had been severely reprimanded for protesting the disqualification.

The WTF secretary-general also said there was no room for manipulators and that rules were very clear. Had Yang, 25, won on Wednesday, she would probably have met Olympic gold medallist, China's Wu Jingyu, in the semifinal. At the Beijing Olympics, Jingyu had beaten Yang to advance and ultimately bag gold. TheWTF had introduced sensors at the 2009 World Championships after a spate of protests over the scoring system at the Beijing Games.

But the episode, barely a year after the new system was introduced, has rattled the world governing body.

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