Player had OK to play for Australia

Updated: 2012-04-10 07:36

By Li Yao (China Daily)

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The Chinese Badminton Association had been notified and gave its approval for ex-badminton champion Huang Sui to represent Australia at a recent competition.

Li Yongbo, head coach of China's national badminton team, said the Australian Badminton Association had contacted its Chinese counterpart prior to the tournament in Sydney last week.

"I'm not at all surprised to hear Huang Sui has represented Australia," Li said.

According to the Badminton World Federation, a player who stays in a country for more than four months can represent that country in tournaments. However, they cannot take part in intercontinental competition, including World Championships and the Olympics.

"Huang Sui has stopped training for years. Now she is back in the game, perhaps more as a hobby," Li said, adding that she could help promote badminton in Australia.

Huang and Tang Hetian represented Australia at a women's doubles match on April 4 and lost to world No 9 pair Chien Yu-chin and Cheng Wen-hsing from Chinese Taipei.

Before Huang, other top Chinese badminton players have played for other countries and even competed against the Chinese team.

The federation's media officer, Jan Lin, said no inquiries have been received so far from the Chinese side about Huang representing Australia in Sydney.

Yet Huang's former employer, the sports center in her native Hunan province, reportedly knew nothing about these developments and has kept paying her salary as a deputy director in charge of youth training since 2008, although she seldom showed up in the first two years and later lost contact with the center.

Hunan provincial sports bureau responded on Monday that it has dismissed Huang from the deputy director post, but still included Huang on the center's payroll as an athlete, reported China News Service.

Yi Jiandong, a professor at the Beijing Sports University, said he understands Huang's decision to go abroad for better career prospects and to fulfill personal values, which "she should not be blamed for and need not explain and justify".