LONDON -- A Chinese team won the Olympic gold medal in badminton. It just wasn't the one most expected.
The scandal-marred women's doubles competition concluded Saturday with Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei defeating Japan's Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa 21-10, 25-23 in the final.
Tian and Zhao are the players that inadvertently started off the problems at Wembley Arena by losing a match to a Danish team in the group stage. That set off a wave of trouble that led to the disqualification of four teams, including the favorites from China.
"To be honest we didn't really pay too much attention to it," Zhao said. "We're professional athletes. We concentrated on ourselves."
Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang made up the top-seeded team for the London Games, but they were among eight players disqualified ahead of the quarterfinals for purposefully losing group matches in order to manipulate the pairings for the knockout stages.
Wang and Yu had lost only four matches in two years, but a feeble, deliberate loss in a group match to avoid meeting Tian and Zhao before the final disgraced them and they were kicked out of the tournament by the Badminton World Federation.
China coach Li Yongbo, who shouldered the blame for Wang's and Yu's performance and apologized, congratulated Tian and Zhao for giving the country its fifth straight women's doubles gold medal.
"We should win the gold medals. Even though there was the problem with our
Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova didn't make it through the group stage of the tournament, but they were placed in the quarterfinals after four teams were disqualified. On Saturday, they won the bronze medal.
"I think we had good luck having the chance to take part in today's competition," Vislova said. "It's a super day for us. We deserved it."