China cries foul over judging at Olympics

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Cai Zhenhua

Deputy Sports Minister Cai Zhenhua has accused judges at the London Olympics of discriminating against Chinese athletes.

A number of decisions have gone against Chinese athletes in cycling and gymnastics, and there was more anger yesterday when hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu was denied a bronze medal.

“We need to solve the problem now or risk more judges adopting a biased view,” Cai said.

Zhang was originally ranked third in the hammer throw but Germany’s Betty Heidler was later elevated to the bronze position when officials remeasured her fifth throw – which was not initially registered because of technical issues – after the final. China lodged a protest but the jury dismissed it.

The Guangming Daily newspaper complained of unfair judging. Several papers cited the result in the men’s gymnastics rings event, in which reigning champion Chen Yibing had to settle for silver behind Brazil’s Arthur Zanetti.

“We need to shout out loud: London Olympics, under the Olympic rings, please view all participants equally,” the paper said

The China delegation has also demanded a review of the relegation of its women’s cycling sprint team for an illegal changeover in the final, which cost it a gold medal.

China team manager Pan Zhichen argued the judgment was based on a “personal interpretation of the rules”.

China won a record 51 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, but going into yesterday’s events, the United States led China 95 to 82 in total medals and 41 to 37 in golds. The Americans are on course to collect at least 30 medals in track and field, with China winning only one bronze.

“China’s big challenge is in swimming and track and field,” said Steve Roush, the US Olympic Committee’s former chief of sports performance.

Still, this is China’s best gold-medal showing outside Beijing, better than the 32 it collected at the 2004 Athens Games.South China Morning Post

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