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Badminton hit by allegations of biased line calls

The showpiece men's team final at the badminton tournament was held up for two hours Wednesday when an Indonesian player upset over a line call walked off the court.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2002 17:51 IST

The showpiece men's team final at the Asian Games badminton tournament was held up for two hours Wednesday when an Indonesian player upset over a line call walked off the court.

Taufik Hidayat threw his racket and stormed off in the second game of the team final's opening singles against South Korea's Shon Seung-mo. The Indonesian delegation followed him to the dressing room.

Officials from the Asian Badminton Confederation persuaded the Indonesian delegation to return to the court area about an hour later. After further discussions between officials, the players began warming up and resumed the match which Hidayat eventually lost.

Indonesian team manager Christian Hadinata said Hidayat lost his cool after repeated bad calls that disturbed his concentration. "The line calls were blatantly unfair and biased against us," Hadinata told The Associated Press.

"The bad calls disturbed our player and gave away crucial points to South Korea," he said. "Taufik carried on in the first game as we made a protest against such partisan decisions with the umpire. "But he apparently lost his composure and could take it no more."

Hidayat had lost the first game 13-15 and was trailing 9-12 when his smash landed close to the left sideline. The line judge called it wide and Hidayat stormed out of the arena shaking his head in disgust.

"We've persuaded Taufik to resume the match, but I don't know how the line calls will continue to be judged," Hadinata said. After resumption there was just one disputed call during the third game, which was changed by the chair umpire in favor of Hidayat. The umpire ruled that Shon's shot went over the baseline. Two international referees took positions behind linesmen and the disputed point before the disruption was replayed. These were the concessions granted to Indonesia by chief referee Boon Kong Ee of Singapore.

On resumption, Hidayat came back strongly to win the interrupted game at 15-13. He led also led 8-2 in the deciding third game before Shon staged a rally to clinch it 17-16.

"Good shots by our player were being called out and those by the local player were being ruled in," Hadinata said, adding that the Badminton Association of Indonesia's chairman, Chairul Tanjung, had lodged a complaint with the chair umpire.

Asian Badminton Confederation's general secretary Punch Gunalan said complaints of bad calls by line judges were not new to badminton.

"There's a problem having local line judges, but the crunch of funds has made us use them in various tournaments," Gunalan said. "Complaints have been made in the past and even in this tournament," he said. "Maybe we'll start referring the close line decision to television. We've got to do something soon for the sake of badminton."

Deputy chief referee, Tee Loy Yap of Malaysia said the last time such a dispute occurred at a major event was during the 1967 Thomas Cup in Indonesia.

Malaysia had protested against biased decisions and the International Badminton Federation changed the venue to New Zealand, but Indonesia did not turn up for the final and the title was awarded to Malaysia.

First Published: Oct 09, 2002 17:51 IST