Chinese sports fans condemn decision to uphold speed skating disqualification

Updated 2018-02-22 16:23:03

Female skaters race at the 3,000 meters short track speed skating relay at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games(Photo provided by the International Skating Union)

The International Skating Union (ISU) on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by China over the disqualification in the women's 3,000 meters short track speed skating relay at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.[Special coverage]

However the dismissal, together with an ISU statement, failed to convince the outraged Chinese sports fans, who said the decision was confusing.

The ISU dismissed the appeal over a technicality, as China did not appeal within the stipulated 30 minutes after the race ended, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

The Chinese team decided to appeal to the ISU Technical Committee late Tuesday after having initially crossed the line in the silver medal position.

Li Yan, chief coach of the Chinese short track speed skating team, said they were unable to hand in the appeal material right after the race as the referees were in a meeting, CCTV reported.

During China's final relay exchange, the Chinese skater drastically changed lane from the outside to the inside, impeding the active Korean skater, read a Wednesday statement from the ISU.

The ISU also released photographic evidence in the statement, pointing out the infractions for China and Canada that led to its decision.

China pointed out that South Korea also crashed during the race, yet were not penalized. Referees should treat every team equally and the ISU statement fails to clarify this point, Li said.

South Korea claimed the gold medal.

Li implied that the referees had penalized Chinese skater Fan Kexin for crossing the track in the last baton exchange.

However, the Chinese team believe that a South Korean skater also impeded another skater, but South Korea was not equally penalized.

"If we were South Korea, we might have not been penalized," Zhou Yang, Fan's teammate and a three-time Olympic gold medal winner, told the press.

"I cannot accept the result," Fan told the Global Times after the match.

"We will fight with our real ability in the next Winter Olympics in Beijing," she said.

Chinese sports fans have taken to social media in their thousands to voice their disapproval.

A CCTV5 Sina Weibo post on the match has garnered more than 43,000 reposts and 50,000 comments, with most netizens condemning what they saw as an injustice.

Chinese sports fans said the result reminded them of the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in South Korea and Japan, in which South Korea reached the semi-finals by beating soccer powerhouses Portugal, Spain and Italy with a supposed "host advantage."

The short track competition has produced a number of dramas, including crashes and disqualifications, Xinhua reported.

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