Unsporty moments: Of fine body is to be of fine spirit! And when that spirit lags, dodges the boundaries of propriety and fortitude, the whole world watches agape. Here are a few of those ugly moments when sportsmanship
Badminton players thrown out of Olympics for tanking games
EIGHT badminton doubles players from four teams were expelled from the 2012 Olympics after they were found guilty of losing their matches on purpose. They included Chinese world champions, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang-who quit the sport subsequently-who allegedly tanked their 'dead rubber' match in order to avoid facing their compatriots prior to their gold-medal match.
The other pairs, two from South Korea and one Indonesian, however, claimed to have under-performed in retaliation to the negative tactics adopted by the Chinese team. The players were jeered and booed off court after they deliberately served out of court and missed easy shots.
Armstrong banned for life
CYCLING legend and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong and his reputation were tarnished for good after he was stripped off his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life in June. The American was found guilty by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for having used illicit performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. His heroic fight against testicular cancer followed by him winning seven consecutive titles was considered the most motivational in sports history. But while announcing the ban, the USADA report accused Armstrong of being a ‘serial cheat who led the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen’.
Egypt football riot
In the worst massacre of its kind, 75 football fans were killed in March after a vicious riot broke out during a league game between Cario-club al-Ahly and Port Said’s al-Masry in Egypt’s capital. Some of the fans were thrown to death off the stadium walls, and many also were killed by explosives while trying to flee the venue. Around 75 were charged by authorities for murder, including some policemen who were accused of doing nothing to stop the carnage. This was the world’s worst football-related disaster in 15 years.
- Bhupathi-Bopanna vs Paes fracas
THE longstanding love-hate relationship between India’s foremost tennis superstars came to a head in the build-up to the Olympics when Mahesh Bhupathi refused to partner formers doubles colleague Leander Paes in London. Bhupathi insisted that he will only plays with regular partner Rohan Bopanna, who also turned down the request to team up with Paes. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) bowed to their demands, while Paes was forced to partner with the un-fancied Vishnu Vardhan. The controversy severely hampered India’s preparation and their medal hopes with both teams being knocked out in the second round. Eventually, the AITA suspended Bhupathi and Bopanna for two years.
- IPL stung by expose
THE Indian Premier League (IPL), for long considered a potential breeding ground for nefarious dealings as a result of its extravagant indulgences, finally came under the scanner when a bunch of players were caught negotiating fees by a sting operation conducted by a local TV channel. Five domestic cricketers, TP Sudhindra, Abhinav Bali, Shalabh Srivasatav, Mohnish Mishra and Amit Yadav, were caught on camera during the fifth edition of the IPL either confessing to having offered bribes or revealing corrupt and clandestine dealings of team owners and players. The allegations though died a natural death with the BCCI taking strict action against the five accused, with Sudhindra being banned for life.
- Umpires accused of accepting bribes
Then in October, the cloud of spot-fixing in world cricket reared its ugly head again when the same channel orchestrated another expose, aptly named ‘Operation World Cup’ during the World T20, getting first-class umpires from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to confess on camera about their inclinations to give favourable decisions if paid their proposed fee. The umpires accused were Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, Gamini Dissanayake, Sagara Gallage and Maurice Winston from Sri Lanka, some of whom had already officiated in international cricket. While Ghauri offered to help India in future matches, Gallage assured that he could rope in the match-referee and other officials. While the ICC washed their hands off the controversy, the umpires were promptly suspended by their respective boards.
- Dubious decisions mire boxing at the Olympics
REFEREEING and judging during the boxing competition of the Olympics came under serious flak after a number of decisions taken during the event raised considerable eyebrows. A referee even ended up being dismissed from the Games for allowing a fight to continue when it should have been called off. The Indian boxers were the most affected by the ineptness of the officiating with Sumit Sangwan, Vikas Krishnan and Manoj Kumar all bowing out of the competition following dubious outcomes. Krishnan especially was hard done by after an appeal awarded Errol Spence four penalty points after the Indian had beaten the American 13-11. India did appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport as well as the International Boxing Association but to no avail.